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Hanson's 'pain in backside' quits party

AAP logoAAP 18/12/2016 Lisa Martin and Jennifer Rajca

It was a day of high drama for embattled senator Rod Culleton - fresh from quitting the One Nation party, he stormed out of a court hearing in Perth.

Senator Culleton has announced he will stay in parliament as an independent after claiming he is the victim of "un-Australian" behaviour by party colleagues and citing policy splits.

Party leader Pauline Hanson declared she would be glad to see the back of him, describing him as a "pain in my backside" during a morning television appearance.

She also vigorously defended her party's vetting process for candidates.

"It's a shame it has turned out as it has," Senator Hanson told reporters in Brisbane.

Tensions are so fraught between the pair that Senator Hanson only found out about Senator Culleton's resignation on social media.

She insisted her party was stable and denied history was repeating itself after the party won 11 seats in the Queensland state parliament in 1998 and then collapsed.

In his late night Sunday statement, Senator Culleton said policy decisions were run in morning media with no consultation or agreement from the party room.

But Senator Hanson said he hardly ever turned up to morning meetings with the One Nation team and advisors to decide policy positions and was too busy with his own media appearances.

Senator Hanson revealed she said "yes" when Senator Culleton asked her if she wanted him to resign after he requested money to fight the High Court challenge over his eligibility to contest the July 2 election.

In Perth there were bizarre scenes during Senator Culleton's appearance at a bankruptcy hearing.

He stormed out of the Federal Court after complaining two men were present against whom his wife has taken out violence restraining orders.

WA and federal police officers turned up in the middle of the hearing to arrrest the men -farmers Bruce Bell and Frank Bertola.

They once fought the banks alongside Senator Culleton, but had a falling out with him over money and are now legally challenging his eligibility as a senator.

Outside the court, the senator insisted he wanted to keep his seat as an independent, rather than give it up to his old party.

"My allegiance is with the people who elected me," he told reporters.

If his election is found invalid, he could be potentially replaced by his brother-in-law Peter Georgiou, who was number two on the One Nation senate ticket..

Fellow crossbencher Derryn Hinch questioned whether Senator Hanson could parachute her chief-of-staff James Ashby into the seat.

But she rejected the claim as absolute rubbish, insisting the staffer was not interested.

Asked what Senator Culleton's resignation meant for government negotiations with the crossbench, Treasurer Scott Morrison said it would wait to see the Senate composition when parliament resumed in February.

Government backbencher Eric Abetz, who managed Senate business under Tony Abbott, says it's likely Senator Culleton's resignation will make the coalition's task harder.

Maverick Queensland independent MP Bob Katter threw his support behind Senator Culleton.

"A bloke has been punished for courageously sticking to the core values of the One Nation supporters," he said.

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