Jackpot George: How One Nation defector Christensen will win even if he loses

George Christensen will earn a $105,000 payout even if loses at the upcoming federal election.

Apr 13, 2022, updated Apr 13, 2022
George Christensen is likely to pocket $105,000 even if he loses at the election (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

George Christensen is likely to pocket $105,000 even if he loses at the election (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The maverick politician, who had resigned as LNP MP before announcing he would stand for One Nation in the senate, would be entitled to a one-off resettlement payment if he failed to win a seat.

The payment is made even if an MP resigns from the House of Representatives to contest a senate seat and loses, as is the case with Christensen.

The same benefit would be paid to Labor’s Kristina Kenneally who is leaving the senate to contest the NSW seat of Fowler.

Even Christensen believed it was unlikely he would win.

The One Nation strategy of putting Christensen third, behind One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and former Adani executive Raj Guruswami, is likely to bolster votes for the minority party but not give Christensen enough votes to win.

According to analyst Antony Green, One Nation would need either a massive vote below the line (for individual candidates) or an above-the-line vote (for the party) of up to 35 per cent. One Nation’s previous highest Queensland vote was 14.8 per cent in 1998, according to Green.

Hanson confirmed Christensen’s recruitment, saying: “Everybody knows who George Christensen is. He is a fighter for Queensland and has done so in parliament for many years.”

“I am proud to actually see that George now has joined One Nation’s team.”

Christensen, who was the MP for the safe LNP Queensland seat of Dawson, had planned to retire from politics and recently quit the LNP.

He expressed his disenchantment with the LNP’s direction, its net-zero climate pledge and “destructive pandemic policies” and said he and One Nation had similar political passions.

“The push for net-zero, I think is going to mean Net Zero jobs in regions like Central Queensland in North Queensland,” Mr Christensen said.

“I’m passionate about vaccine mandates, the response to governments around Covid which was a complete and utter overreach, blowing up freedoms and rights and all the rest of it, jobs in the economy – for a virus with a 0.27 per cent infection fatality rate”

He conceded it would be difficult for him to win the Senate seat, but insisted there was a prospect.

“It’s difficult. I will admit that it’s difficult, you know, but as I said, if the job that I do is to ensure that Pauline gets across the line that that’s the job done,” he said.

LNP Senator Matt Canavan said while he understood Christensen might have been upset with some party room decisions, change had to be fought for.

“It is a desertion,” the fellow Queenslander told Nine Network.

“You don’t go off and speak to a minor party.”

Asked if Christensen could threaten his Queensland upper house seat, Senator Canavan said he took nothing for granted.

“Ultimately you don’t have job security … It’s up to the voters,” he said.

“But I love a fight, I don’t shirk from a fight.”

One Nation on Wednesday said it would field candidates in 151 lower house electorates across the nation.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce accused the former LNP member of disrespecting his community.

“Of course we are disappointed, any party would be disappointed, that goes without saying. That’s life,” Joyce said on Wednesday.

He said the many party members in Mackay had shown “incredible loyalty”, but had been disrespected by Christensen.

“It’s really important you respect people. When they voted for you they saw your name on the ticket and they saw your brand LNP … you’ve got to respect it.”

The inclusion of Guruswamy on the One Nation ticket also provides some grist. One Nation had initially been against the coal mine project but Adani made a donation to the party of $15,000 in 2019 when the political brawling over the mine’s approval was its worst. It also donated to the LNP.

Guruswamy was Adani’s general manager of corporate affairs in Australia and has been quoted in The Guardian claiming that some of the opposition against the mine was based on racism, which he also considered may have been a factor in his career advancement.

“As a guy coming in as an Indian-born, naturalised Australian for the last 24 years, I’ve gone through certain jobs and other areas [where] I felt sometimes like, ‘Man, is it because I’ve an Indian background I’m not moving forward in my life?’,” he told The Guardian.

-with AAP

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