One of Pauline Hanson's closest political colleagues, Brian Burston, has resigned from the party and sit on the crossbenches as an independent.
One Nation senator Brian Burston has resigned from One Nation to sit as an independent in the Senate, weeks after party leader Pauline Hanson sacked him as her deputy and accused her colleague of "stabbing her in the back".
Senator Burston confirmed his resignation on Thursday, leaving One Nation with only two members in the parliament.
"It is with a heavy heart that I announce that I am resigning from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party and will represent NSW in the Senate as an independent senator” Senator Burston wrote in a statement.
“It has become clear to me that my relationship with Senator Hanson is irrevocable and the best way forward for me to represent the best interest of the constituents of NSW with honour and integrity is for me to resign."
The dispute was triggered when Senator Burston revealed he would break ranks with One Nation and vote with the Coalition in favour of company tax cuts. Then, the senator said he would do the same to support the Turnbull government's personal income tax cuts.
One Nation had previously made a deal with the government to vote in favour of the corporate tax cuts, but Senator Hanson said she changed her mind after seeing the contents of the 2018 Budget in May.
But Senator Burston refused to backflip and said he would honour the agreement with the government's Senate leader Mathias Cormann.
"My father taught all us kids that once you shake hands with somebody – that’s it," Senator Burston said.
“I was saddened to be asked by Senator Hanson to resign from the party and the Senate for sticking to my word.”
Senator Burston will now sit as an independent in parliament, despite some speculation as to whether the senator would join another minor party.
NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party MP Robert Borsak said the senator made an approach via an “intermediary” to the party’s state director to discuss becoming the party’s only federal voice in Canberra. Senator Burston consistently denied ever approaching the Shooters.
Pauline Hanson said Senator Burston should resign his Senate seat and allow One Nation to pick a replacement. saying it would be the "honourable thing" to do.