Brian Burston quits One Nation after prolonged feud with Pauline Hanson
Former Pauline Hanson loyalist Brian Burston will quit One Nation and sit as an independent in the Senate after a spectacular falling-out with his party leader.
- Pauline Hanson asked him to quit the Senate two weeks ago, but he will remain as an independent
- Conservative crossbenchers have been courting Brian Burston, hoping he will join their loose alliance
- He is the third One Nation senator to quit the party in this term of Parliament
The New South Wales senator's departure from the party was widely anticipated after he was embroiled in a bitter feud with Senator Hanson last month.
Senator Hanson accused Senator Burston of "stabbing her in the back" over the Government's proposed company tax cuts, and said he was trying to defect to other political parties.
The One Nation leader also called on him to quit Parliament — but Senator Burston has brushed that demand aside and will remain in the Upper House.
In a statement, Senator Burston said it was "with a heavy heart" he had to leave the party.
"It has become clear to me that my relationship with Senator Hanson is irrevocable," the statement said.
"The best way forward for me to represent the best interests of the constituents of NSW with honour and integrity is for me to resign from [One Nation]."
Senator Burston told Fairfax Media that One Nation "should be called Gone Nation" and painted Senator Hanson as an autocratic leader.
"There is no democracy in the party — every single decision made is made by Pauline Hanson, and if you don't agree then you're gone," he said.
In his statement he also urged Senator Hanson and her other remaining senator, Peter Georgiou, to honour its deal with the Government on company tax cuts.
Senator Burston's decision means One Nation is now reduced to only two senators in the Senate, significantly reducing its bargaining power.
Other conservative crossbench senators have been courting Senator Burston, and hope that he will join them in a loose alliance in order to boost their influence in negotiations with the Government.
One Nation left with two senators
Senator Burston's resignation caps a tumultuous and disastrous 18 months for One Nation.
Three men — Senator Burston, Malcolm Roberts and Rod Culleton — won Senate seats under One Nation's banner in the 2016 election.
But none of them remain in the Upper House as One Nation senators.
Mr Roberts was also kicked out of the Senate by the High Court after being embroiled in the dual citizenship scandal.
He was replaced by Fraser Anning, who left the party almost as soon as he arrived in Canberra.
Senator Anning accused Senator Hanson of verbally abusing him and has now joined Bob Katter's Australian Party.
Only West Australian Senator Georgiou — who replaced Senator Culleton — remains loyal to Senator Hanson.
Senator Burston is expected to send his letter of resignation later today.