Meet the ‘next Pauline Hanson’
LAWYERS for a failed One Nation senate candidate say a Tasmanian mayor should be disqualified from taking up Jacqui Lambie's vacant seat.
Ms Lambie was disqualified from parliament after it was discovered she held British citizenship at the time of the 2016 election.
The second person on the Jacqui Lambie Network ticket was Steve Martin, who is in line to take the Senate seat.
However, the High Court is examining whether Mr Martin is also disqualified because he is the mayor of Devonport in Tasmania.
Under section 44 of the constitution, anyone who holds an "office of profit under the crown" is disqualified from parliament.
One Nation candidate Kate McCulloch is a party to the High Court case because it is possible if the Lambie election ticket is struck out she could be in line to take the seat, based on a fresh count of preferences.
Ms McCulloch has been described as the "next Pauline Hanson" and would give One Nation four votes if she got the nod. This is despite only receiving 141 first preference votes at the 2016 federal election.
She rose to prominence a decade ago when campaigning against an Islamic school in Camden, south west of Sydney.
"The ones that come here oppress our society, they take our welfare and they don't want to accept our way of life," she said about why she was opposed to the school being approved.
Ms McCulloch's lawyers said in a written submission published on Monday there was no doubt Mr Martin held an "office of profit", as he received a substantial allowance and reimbursement of his costs.
But the lawyers also argue the office is "under the crown" because a state governor can, on the advice of a minister, suspend a council or dismiss councillors.
"In the constitutional context, there is ample authority for the proposition that municipal authorities are a manifestation of the executive of the state for the purpose of delegating administrative functions at a local level to geographic locales within the broader law area of the state," the lawyers wrote. There was a great risk of "deleterious interaction" if a mayor was to be elected to the federal parliament, they wrote.
The state government could control the mayor's pay or use powers to interfere in the local council, in an attempt to control the mayor's activities in the federal parliament to secure patronage in turn for the state, undermining his free and independent judgment, the lawyers argued.
Alternatively, with so much of the funding received by local councils now coming from the commonwealth, a local councillor could favour his or her council with commonwealth grants in an attempt to secure re-election or other benefits. As well, it was difficult to see how "even an honest and diligent person could attend properly to the duties both of an MP and of a mayor". A hearing before the full court is set down for February 6 in Canberra.