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Rod Culleton case: what happens now?

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Belinda Merhab

THE ROD CULLETON CASE

THE STORY SO FAR

* One Nation senator Rod Culleton was referred to the High Court by the Senate in November amid questions over his eligibility for election on July 2, following a larceny conviction.

* Culleton's conviction was later annulled and no conviction was recorded after pleading guilty to taking a tow truck key he says was worth $7.50.

* The constitution states a person convicted of an offence punishable by a jail sentence of a year or longer cannot become a senator.

* The High Court on Wednesday reserved its judgment, but a decision is likely soon.

WHAT'S THE LIKELY OUTCOME?

* Anne Twomey, constitutional law professor at Sydney University says Culleton is likely to lose but it depends whether the annulment means the conviction never happened, or it gets wiped out from the time it's annulled.

* George Williams, law dean at the University of NSW says there's no clear answer given there are strong arguments on either side.

* The High Court has never had to decide this issue before, but the constitution suggests the annulment applies prospectively rather than retrospectively.

IF THE COURT FINDS HE WAS ELIGIBLE?

* Culleton can complete his three-year term as a senator.

IF HE'S DISQUALIFIED?

* The court will order a recount and the likely replacement is the next person on the One Nation ticket - Culleton's brother-in-law Peter Georgiou.

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