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One Nation senator faces High Court

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

One Nation senator Rod Culleton is expected to face a High Court challenge to his eligibility to run for parliament.

Attorney-General George Brandis said in a statement on Wednesday the Senate would be asked to refer to the court whether the West Australian senator was eligible for election because a larceny conviction stood in May when the federal poll was called.

Under the constitution, a conviction on an offence which carries a jail term of a year or more disqualifies a person from sitting in parliament.

The 2014 NSW conviction was later annulled, but Senator Culleton pleaded guilty to the charge at a subsequent hearing with no conviction recorded.

Senator Culleton told reporters in Perth there was a "dark cloud" over him and that he may either represent himself or not take part in the court case at all.

"I'm not sure whether I'm going to participate in any High Court jurisdiction and if I do I'll simply go down and sheer a sheep, take the belly fleece, stick it over my head and I'll represent myself," he said.

"I've got to come up with another $100,000 to have everyone sit up there like Harry Potter? I'm not doing that. I'll go in there myself."

Senator Brandis said he had written to the Senate President Stephen Parry after receiving advice from the solicitor-general on October 28 concerning the election of Senator Culleton.

The opinion had been sought on October 13 after a former Culleton business associate, Bruce Bell, petitioned the High Court to disqualify the WA senator over the larceny conviction, which related to a key he took from a tow truck driver who was trying to repossess a lease car.

Senator Brandis said the Senate will be asked on Monday to refer the matter to the High Court.

Speaking on ABC's 7.30, he labelled Senator Culleton a "decent person" who found himself in the middle of an "unwitting constitutional maelstrom".

Asked whether he may resign, Senator Culleton said: "If the Australian people wanted to ask me to resign, if they wanted me to do it, I would yes."

He indicated he would not vote on contentious bills while the issue is being investigated.

Senator Culleton also potentially faces a constitutional issue over his financial status.

Creditors of his company Elite Grains will meet in Perth on Thursday morning to discuss the liquidation.

Asked whether he had traded while insolvent, Senator Culleton told ABC television on Wednesday: "No, not at all."

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