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One Nation divided on company tax cuts

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One Nation is split on support for the Federal Government’s company tax cuts, despite Pauline Hanson insisting her team agreed last week to block them.

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But Senator Brian Burston now says he will support the government’s $35.6 billion plan, in a direct challenge to his leader’s authority.

The NSW senator says he was blindsided when Hanson withdrew support for the cuts after initially agreeing to back them, but he plans to honour the deal struck with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann in March.

“I don’t want to cause any angst or division in One Nation, but once I make a handshake with somebody — that’s it. I stick to my word,” Burston told The Australian newspaper on Thursday.

But Hanson says she spoke to Burston last Monday before the party’s change of mind was announced and he agreed to the plan to withdraw support.

She said it appears Burston changed his mind in return for money to deal with PFAS contamination near a NSW air force base.

“He feels that he did a deal with Minister Cormann, and he’s sold himself out for $55 million in PFAS,” Hanson told reporters today.

“(But) he is a member of the party and he is still a representative of One Nation.”

Hanson said the preselection process for the next election is not yet finalised – putting a cloud over his position at the top of the One Nation Senate ticket for NSW.

“I have actually tried to make contact with him to sit down and talk with him, but because of our schedules we have not been able to,” Hanson said.

“He’s said he’s not doing a dummy spit; he said he’s not walking away from One Nation.”

Cormann insists the government remains committed to the deal it struck with One Nation.

“The government is very appreciative of the fact that Senator Burston has announced that he will stick to the agreement that was reached,” the minister told reporters.

The government has 31 senators and needs 39 votes to pass its legislation, if Labor doesn’t decide to back it.

“My message to Bill Shorten is – jobs don’t grow on trees,” Cormann said.

Shorten said Labor would oppose the company tax cuts all the way to the next election.

“I notice that yet again Pauline Hanson’s One Nation appears to be split and chaotic,” Shorten told reporters.

“The reality is that if you vote One Nation you’re voting for corporate tax cuts.”

Burston has removed reference to One Nation on his social media accounts.

– AAP

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