The number one candidate for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in Western Australia has batted off suggestions criminal convictions could ruin his chance at taking his seat in the Senate.
Mr Culleton is appealing against a conviction for larceny in New South Wales on March 2 and will next month face a trial in the Perth Magistrate’s Court on a stealing charge.
Rod Culleton said his criminal issues were irrelevant until voting had shown he had won a Senate seat.
“Well, first of all, we’re jumping the gun. I haven’t been elected yet,” he said.
“We’ve got a long way to go.
“Look, I’m the dark horse. I didn’t put my hand up. I was asked to join.”
The anti-bank campaigner, who supports Labor’s call for royal commission into the banking sector, said he would not have stood for Parliament if he had anything to hide.
“I’m an intelligent fellow,” he said.
“I would not stand. I would not mislead the Australian people to stand for Parliament if I couldn’t.”
The Australian Constitution says a senator cannot be serving or awaiting a sentence for a crime that carries a prison sentence of 12 months or longer.
The NSW offence attracts a maximum penalty of five years’ prison, while in WA, someone convicted of stealing can go to jail for up to seven years.
On current counting, the former Williams farmer is looking likely to pick up one of WA’s six Senate seats, the first One Nation politician to do so.
Mr Culleton said he had not spoken to Pauline Hanson this morning but was confident of her support.
“Pauline Hanson would stand by me as an Australian person, not just because I’m one of her candidates,” he said.
If Mr Culleton cannot take his seat, Mrs Hanson will need to select a new candidate. His wife, Ionna, was third on the party’s Senate ticket.