George Christensen to run for the Senate
Rogue former Coalition MP George Christensen has prompted one of the early surprises of the 2022 election campaign, announcing he will run for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party as a Senate candidate at the May 21 election.
After quitting the LNP last week, the former Coalition MP announced he’d run for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party
The former lower house MP will run third on the One Nation Senate ticket in Queensland
Hanson will commit to fielding candidates in all 151 federal electorates, a considerable increase from the 2019 election
The vocal critic of COVID-19 restrictions and vaccinations had declared his intention to retire from Parliament, after holding the regional Queensland seat of Dawson for the Nationals since 2010.
Last week he quit the Liberal National Party, concerned the Nationals had surrendered their conservative values during the merger with the Liberal Party in Queensland.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson confirmed on Wednesday morning Mr Christensen would be the party’s third Senate candidate, rather than contest Dawson, where One Nation has already selected Julie Hall as its candidate for the seat.
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“It has come as no surprise to many people that for a long while I have diverged with the views of the government — most notably around the issue of vaccine mandates,” Mr Christensen said.
“But also on a range of things including the push for a net zero, which I think will be net zero jobs.”
He said Senator Hanson had approached him, after he announced he was leaving parliament, and he had agreed to run for the Senate.
At the 2019 election, Mr Christensen recorded a massive 11.3 per cent swing toward him in Dawson — something Coalition members put down to his personal brand in North Queensland.
But his tilt at the Senate will be a long shot — given the low likelihood of three One Nation Senators being elected in Queensland.
Senator Hanson today committed to fielding candidates in all 151 House of Representatives contests.
One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson smiles at a media conference.
Pauline Hanson said she would not ask the person second on the ticket to make way for Mr Christensen.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)
“The people have indicated they have had enough of the major political parties — Liberal, Labor and the Greens and the Nationals,” Senator Hanson said.
“They are looking for change, they are looking for representation, looking for people who will represent them on the floor apartment with integrity and honesty.”
She rejected suggestions Mr Christensen’s attempt to enter the Upper House would be fruitless, and said she would not be asking the party’s second Senate candidate to make way for the former Coalition MP.
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Firebrand MP’s trail of controversy
George Christensen has been no stranger to controversy during his time in Federal Parliament, causing a number of headaches for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government during the COVID-19 crisis.
The firebrand MP has been one of the most vocal critics of pandemic restrictions, and quit a lucrative position as a chair of a parliamentary committee after urging parents to avoid getting their children vaccinated against COVID-19.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, also Mr Christensen’s leader in the Nationals party room, were repeatedly called on to reprimand the Queensland backbencher for peddling his theories.