Pauline Hanson says she’s in control of One Nation and won’t let her party fracture again, like it did after taking 11 seats in Queensland two decades ago.
Senator Hanson has denied claims by a second sacked Queensland candidate that she’s a puppet under the control of her controversial chief of staff James Ashby.
“I have team players with me but when it comes to making the decisions for this party and driving this party, it is solely in my hands and I will take full responsibility,” she has told the ABC.
Peter Rogers on Friday became the third Queensland candidate to withdraw or be sacked since mid-December, when One Nation unveiled its first tranche of candidates for the next state poll.
He’s echoed comments made by another dumped candidate, Shan Ju Lin, who’s said Senator Hanson must sack Mr Ashby because he is exerting a dangerous level of control and poses a threat to One Nation’s grassroots support.
Senator Hanson has previously defended Mr Ashby as a trusted advisor but says no one should be in any doubt about who is in charge.
She’s also said she won’t let rogue candidates destroy the ambitions she holds for One Nation.
“No-one, no-one is going to take it over and destroy what I want to achieve, what I want to do,” the One Nation leader said.
“I can assure you, (with) 20 years’ experience, knowledge, wisdom, understanding … I’ve taken over the leadership of this party.”
One Nation’s fortunes plunged after the 1998 Queensland election, as internal divisions and instability split the party.
Mr Rogers, who had been due to contest the far northern seat of Mulgrave, was dumped over an online post alleging the Port Arthur massacre and the death of a Syrian toddler who drowned at sea which sparked a global outcry last year, were fabrications.
He’s since said the post was written without his knowledge by a friend who had control of his website.