In March, the Prime Minister reacted furiously to an expose of the right-wing minor party’s dealings with the American gun lobby, and Senator Hanson’s apparent questioning of whether the Port Arthur massacre was a government conspiracy.
Fronting the media, Mr Morrison declared that the Liberal Party would not do any deals on preferences with One Nation as a result, putting them below Labor on how-to-vote cards.
But he has been dogged for weeks over Queensland Coalition candidates stitching up arrangements with Senator Hanson.
“That’s a matter for the National Party,” Mr Morrison told Leigh Sales on 7.30 last night. “We’re two separate parties.”
The problem is, that’s not true in Queensland.
Not only is the Liberal-National Party a merged entity in Queensland, but its constitution blows Mr Morrison’s excuse out of the water.
Part A. 3 of the LNP Queensland’s constitution states: “The Party shall be a division of the Liberal Party of Australia and to remove any doubt it is the body referred to as Liberal Party of Australia (Queensland division) in the Federal Constitution of the Liberal Party of Australia.”
Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt accused Mr Morrison of lying.
“Outside Queensland, Mr Morrison claims to reject One Nation. But back in Queensland, he’s done a dodgy deal with One Nation, just to save his job,” Senator Watt said.
“Six LNP candidates have swapped preferences with One Nation and others. These candidates are advertised as Liberals, on the Liberal Party website, with how to vote cards that preference One Nation above Labor.”
As part of the deal, Senator Watt said other “at-risk LNP candidates, including Peter Dutton” will also receive preferences from One Nation.
“The LNP is every bit as bound by Mr Morrison’s One Nation preference ban, as any other Liberal around the country,” Senator Watt said.
“If Mr Morrison is serious about stopping Liberals from preferencing One Nation, he will intervene and stop the LNP-One Nation preference deals in Queensland.”
Michelle Landry, the Coalition MP for Capricornia in Queensland, has also stuck a preference deal with One Nation — one that she will likely rely on to retain her seat.
During the 2017 Queensland Election, One Nation polled either first or second in every state seat that sits inside the Capricornia footprint.
Despite Mr Morrison’s implication that her deal is an issue for the National Party, Ms Landry appears on the Liberal website in the “our team” section.
“Mr Morrison pretends that One Nation preferences are a matter for the National Party. But his lie is exposed in black and white,” Senator Watt said.
After Mr Morrison’s decision in March, Senator Hanson hit out at the PM and said the voting system should change.
“If the Prime Minister doesn’t want to preference One Nation ahead of the Greens and Labor, he should change the voting from compulsory to optional preference voting,” she said.
“That way people have a choice on how many boxes they fill in. A true leader listens to the people.”