WA One Nation state MP quits party

Pauline Hanson.
Pauline Hanson.

A MEMBER of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in Western Australia’s upper house has quit, citing “enduring poor party leadership”.

East Metropolitan MLC Charles Smith told state parliament on Tuesday night he would instead sit as an independent.

East Metropolitan MLC Charles Smith.

“Today is the end of a long line of frustrations for me, and I advise the house that I have resigned from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and stand as an independent member,” he said.

Mr Smith is a former policeman and was elected to parliament in 2017.

The party’s two other MPs are state leader Colin Tincknell, and Robin Scott.

One Nation had been able to provide a substantial block to the Labor government’s legislation, but the party has been plagued by infighting.

Mr Smith said he felt “suffocated by a complete lack of leadership and direction” from Mr Tincknell.

“It seems that Queensland just wanted bums on seats in WA,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We usually don’t know the ‘party-direction’ until we meet on the morning that parliament sits.

“Nobody knows what is going on. It is not hard to send an email stating what position will be taken on each issue, yet that doesn’t happen.”

Mr Tincknell is being sought for comment.

Premier Mark McGowan said he was unsure whether it would now be easier to get legislation through the upper house.

“Obviously the government will continue to advocate for our legislative agenda to get through the upper house,” he told reporters.

Political analyst Harry Phillips told AAP it might be a “slightly easier situation” for Labor to deal with Mr Smith as an independent.

“It would at least marginally help the government to get contentious legislation through,” he said.

Of the 32 people who have served in various Australian parliaments for One Nation, 22 have now either quit parliament, resigned from the party, been disqualified or expelled.

That includes all three One Nation members in WA who were elected to state parliament in 2001 then later resigned.

Mr Phillips described Mr Smith’s deflection as history repeating itself.

“Pauline Hanson seems to have public appeal but … her incapacity to keep a loyal team is perhaps a flaw in her leadership,” he said.

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