One Nation has accused so-called preference whisperer Glenn Druery of threatening to “tear out Pauline Hanson’s throat” if she did not go along with his wheeling and dealing.
One Nation senator Brian Burston made the allegations during a speech in the Senate on Wednesday, claiming the threat was made in the lead-up to the 2016 federal election in a phone call to the party’s Brisbane office that was recorded.
“Threats, intimidation and deception are the currencies of Mr Druery’s preference dealings,” Senator Burston said under parliamentary privilege.
Senator Burston made a string of accusations against Mr Druery, claiming his preference dealings amounted to a pyramid-selling scheme that defrauded investors.
“Mr Druery will say this has been an unfair attack on his character and a misuse of parliamentary privilege,” he told parliament.
“I reject that proposition on the basis that there was really nowhere to go with these allegations of this kind in the absence of a federal independent commission against corruption.”
Mr Druery attacked One Nation via his Twitter account throughout the recent Western Australian election, describing the minor party as “virtually irrelevant”.
He described One Nation’s preference deal with the Liberal party as a bad deal, saying: “Blind Freddy who graduated from the kindergarten school of strategy could tell you `don’t do a deal with a party that’s based on racism, ignorance and fear’.”
Mr Druery is a political strategist dubbed the “preference whisperer” since his advice on preferencing has delivered a swag of seats to micro-parties.
It was his work behind the scenes that got the Motoring Party’s Ricky Muir elected in 2013 on a record-low primary vote of 0.51 per cent.
He now works as a senior adviser to crossbench senator Derryn Hinch, who described Senator Burston’s speech as an abuse of parliamentary privilege for revenge.
“I do not intend to dignify Senator Burston’s scurrilous, false and cowardly attack on a member of my staff, under parliamentary privilege, except to say that it is driven by a thirst for revenge,” Senator Hinch said in a statement.
He said One Nation wanted revenge because Mr Druery had thwarted the party’s campaign to win six upper house seats in the WA election.
Mr Druery described Senator Burston’s spray as “cowardly harassment”.
“Even a dishonest attack from a PHON (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation) apparatchik is a badge of honour,” he wrote on Twitter.