Shorten and Hanson ruffle each other’s feathers

14 May 2018

Shorten and Hanson ruffle each other’s feathers

Image credit: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Opposition leader Bill Shorten and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson have exchanged harsh words ahead of the Super Saturday byelections, with Mr Shorten vowing to put Ms Hanson at the ‘back of the queue’ on preferences.

Mr Shorten has accused Ms Hanson of joining forces with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government to give big companies a tax cut.

Mr Shorten wrote a blunt letter in response to Ms Hanson’s written request for “assurance” that Labor would not give preference to the Greens.

“Sadly, you’ve put the top end of town first and Aussie battlers last – so that’s where Australian Labor will put One Nation in our preferences at the next election,” Mr Shorten wrote to Senator Hanson on Sunday.

“Your voting record in Canberra has left us with no choice but to put you at the back of the queue – because we’ll always put working Australians and their families first.”

While Labor has previously rejected giving preference to One Nation, Mr Shorten’s letter and the wording could push Senator Hanson to preference the Coalition.

A surprise poll released on Saturday showed that the Coalition was leading the race to win the seat of Longman in Queensland in the byelections next month, with the Coalition on 53 per cent and Labor on 47 per cent.

The poll also saw a considerable boost for One Nation, with a recorded primary vote of 15.1% in comparison to last year’s figure of 9.4%.

That is likely to make One Nation preferences crucial in deciding whether the Coalition or Labor wins the seat.