While newly elected senators are meant to be flying to Canberra for senator school next week, One Nation’s Rod Culleton faces another court case that will mean he misses some crucial lessons — and he might be prevented from serving in Parliament at all. Culleton has told Farm Online‘s Colin Bettles that he would prefer to give up his place in Parliament than plead guilty to stealing a hire car:
“I’m not going to admit guilty to unlawful possession when I am not guilty of any crime. And you know what — I’d rather stand down from Parliament because if I can’t be true to my own principles then I can’t be true to Australian people. So I’d stand down from Parliament.”
Culleton has been charged over an incident at a farm foreclosure where a hire car used by receivers was surrounded by hay bales, making it impossible for it to be moved. The incident features in a 60 Minutes report on Culleton and other farmers and their campaign against the way the big banks treat farmers. Culleton has already had a larceny charge in New South Wales annulled, but this charge will go to trial, despite prosecutors offering him a deal. The case will be heard in the Perth Magistrates Court next week; if he is found guilty of a charge that carries a penalty of more than a year in jail it could mean that he won’t be taking up his place in Canberra.