Anning raised eyebrows when he was escorted into the chamber this morning by Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and Australian Conservative Cory Bernardi, as two of his colleagues Brian Burston and Peter Georgiou sat watching.
An hour later, Hanson released a media statement explaining why her party colleagues weren’t in the escort party.
She said former staff to Malcolm Roberts, who was disqualified by the High Court for holding dual citizenship and was replaced by Anning, had made contact with the Queensland-based business consultant several months ago, encouraging him to move to the Australian Conservatives should Roberts lose his seat.
At that time, Anning had been asked to consider standing for the state election in the Queensland seat of Gladstone.
But Hanson says he had dismissed the request on the grounds that he and his wife were moving to the United States to join their two daughters and grandchildren.
The One Nation leader then sought to speak to Anning but could only contact his brother Harry.
“I indicated to Harry Anning at the time, that given the work Malcolm Roberts had achieved … it would be in the federal party’s and Australia’s best interest for Malcolm Roberts to be returned to the Senate,” she said.
He also issued a media release recently, demanding Hanson pledge her support for him and on Saturday, publicly questioned whether her advisers approved of him.
Hanson refused four of Anning’s new staff access to a partyroom meeting on Monday morning because of what she described as their “disloyalty”.
Anning then walked out of the meeting.
When Hanson asked senators Burston and Georgiou to mediate with Anning they were told he had decided to become an independent.
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