Terrifically entertaining as he is, One Nation senator Rod Culleton is unfit for parliament and is unlikely to last. He is simply too “agile” and too “innovative” for public office.
The latest instalment from Rod – shonky political theatre at its best – saw
the WA freshman senator deliver these two zingers yesterday at the High Court: “I’m not mentally deranged at all,” and “I don’t go out of my way to be a criminal”. Again, gloriously, he called for a High Court jury trial.
Besides his date in the High Court, Rod was supposed to have been at his bankruptcy hearing in the Federal Court yesterday. The latter hearing has now been set down for December 8. Let’s hope the hearing of the Full Bench of the High Court, also set down for December, does not fall on the same day again!
As revealed in these pages last month before the High Court kerfuffle blew up, The senator from WA has another problem, his statutory disclosures don’t stack up.
Signing a statutory disclosure form is not like ticking a hotel breakfast menu, you can be held to account legally.
Still, since the material omissions in Rod Culleton’s register of personal interests were exposed – bear in mind this is a form which politicians have to lodge with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) – the omissions are still there.
The AEC has not bothered to chase Culleton for his misleading information and nobody has seen fit to make him explain it.
Further, public disclosures regarding his earlier bankruptcy do not fit with the disclosures in the creditor’s report into one of his failed companies, DEQMO. In this document he claims, as an asset, to be owed money by DEQMO.
This does not appear as an asset in his bankruptcy statement though, nor in his AEC disclosures for that matter. The effect is, conveniently, that Rod Culleton, looks poor for his bankruptcy – and therefore escapes his creditors. But in his company’s administration, as he claims he is owed $450,000, indeed lodging a proof of debt for that amount, he appears as a wounded creditor who is owed a lot of money.
Then there are Rodney’s glaring non-statutory musings such as telling a reporter from the AFR the other day that he had $34 million, though he subsequently had to plead unrepresented by council before the High Court.
More pertinent is the question of whether he should have emerged from bankruptcy last time around and become a senator. Given the retinue of creditors pursuing him, and the millions of dollars he owes, it seems a stretch that he could have been deemed to be solvent. This is yet to be properly examined and could have a real effect on his eligibility.
When he is likely declared bankrupt again next month, unless he somehow staves off the hearing or comes into some money, it won’t necessarily affect his eligibility for Parliament. One is allowed to go bankrupt while in office. The question is, was Rodney Culleton insolvent when he last emerged from bankruptcy and was therefore able to enter Parliament?
Just to reprise the omissions in his AEC declaration:
1. His claim personally for $450,000.00 from DEQMO Pty Ltd.
2. His Director role in the company Elite Grains Pty Ltd.
3. His shareholding a in Elite Grains.
4. The two judgement debts against him from Dick Lester for $203,000 and the PCL (ANZ) judgment debt of $4.3 million.
5. Loans from Bruce Dixon.
Finally, it is worth noting that One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson had been made aware of Culleton’s form back in April but still supported his candidacy.