West Australian Senator in exile, ‘bank basher’ Rodney Culleton is expecting to be re-instated to the senate after the High Court delivered a fatal blow to the long-running ANZ Bank campaign to destroy his career and livelihood
A unanimous decision handed down on March 21, 2018, Alley-v-Gillespie, paves the way for the senate to re-install senators Bob Day and Rod Culleton, however it could have further far-reaching ramifications for other senators removed under s44 of the Commonwealth Constitution.
In essence the HCA has ruled it cannot decide on a question of disqualification or vacancy without first empowering the House under s22 and s47 challenging any question under s44 of the Constitution which states any question of eligibility for an elected candidate to the Upper or Lower House can only be decided by the respective House of Parliament.
Culleton has maintained this argument ever since Judge Barker of the Federal Court in 2016 found Culleton bankrupt because a proposed land deal between himself and Perth businessman and leading Liberal Dick Lester had turned sour.
Lester was reported as spending $1.6 million with Perth law firm King Wood Malleson chasing an alleged
debt of $200,000.
Culleton alleges the law firm and Lester were acting on instructions from the ANZ Bank because he had challenged the ANZ Bank’s bona fides over bank foreclosures through the senate.
Two solicitors, Michael Lundberg and Adam Rompopis who were leading the Culleton offensive, have since departed the firm.
To add insult to injury in June last year, the Federal Government pursued Culleton for $712,000 in expenses and wages incurred while his senate office was in operation.
It was a first ever demand for office expenses by government against a former Member.
On March 7 the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann wrote to Culleton stating he had forgiven the office bill. Culleton said he refused the offer because legally, he remained a senator.
“I did not accept Cormann’s waiver of the debt because I was unlawfully removed from the senate,” Mr Culleton said.
“After the s47 ruling on March 21 I informed the senate President he must recall the senate to deal with the matter of my disqualification which will have implications for other senators who were also disqualified by the High Court.
“All facts must be debated in the House and questions of disqualification or vacancies must be dealt with by the House.
“My argument regarding s47 has never changed and I put the President on notice last week the ‘surrogate’ senators not elected by the people are only filling the void created by the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.
“They should pack up and go home. The whole senate has been brought into disrepute by former Liberal Attorney General George Brandis and former President Stephen Parry when Brandis withheld the statement of agreed facts from the senate.
“The new president must recall the senate and deal with the matters.”
The extract below is from a story published by Cairns News on March 8, 2017:
A single judge of The High Court of Australia, on March 2, 2017 struck out Culleton’s appeal against bankruptcy, previously handed down by the Full Bench of the Federal Court.
“I am outraged and disappointed Justice Patrick Keane of the High Court did not ever read my written submissions yet he handed down his finding in spite of me asking for more time to prepare,” Mr Culleton said.
Coincidentally, March 2, 2017 was the 12 month anniversary when he was convicted of larceny in absentia in the Armidale Magistrates Court over the disappearance of a truck key worth $7.50, a charge for which he would not ever have been jailed.
“My counsel clearly told Justice Keane that the High Court did not have jurisdiction to deal with my position in the senate,” he said.
“Counsel told the court only the senate could deal with it and Justice Keane only had to read Section 47 of the Constitution which says any question over the qualification of a senator or a member of either House, ‘….shall be determined by the House in which the question arises.’
“The High Court says it gets its power from the unlawful Australia Act 1986 which was introduced two years after a referendum of Australian people said they did not want the Commonwealth to give its powers to the States.
“This referendum failed but here we have the High Court using powers the states should not have such as the denial of juries.”
Lower House supporter Katter’s comments from January 19, 2017.
KAP Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter who had formed an alliance with Senator Culleton because of his effective attack against unlawful bank foreclosures, waded into the fray last year.
“The more we become aware what has been done to Senator Culleton the more clear it becomes that the Liberal Party counts on the vote of One Nation,” Mr Katter said.
“This morning in the Perth Federal Court, Senator Rod Culleton was granted his right to have an Appeal heard on his bankruptcy ruling.
“The Senator’s Appeal application was a live matter last week when the Senate President removed Senator Culleton from his elected seat in the Senate on the basis of Senator Culleton’s bankruptcy declaration being finally determined, which at the time — it was not.
“Whilst One Nation may have started off the ‘Killing of Culleton’, it is most certainly the Liberal Party who are trying to finish the job. The Liberals are doing exactly the same job on Senator Culleton that they did on Pauline Hanson herself. I was always appalled with what they did to her and publicly said so on numerous occasions. However, it is hard to feel sorry for her now.
“It’s becoming clear now that the Liberals with the support of One Nation moved at lightning speed to bankrupt Senator Culleton and in my opinion, stand him down from the Senate.
“On the issue of bankruptcy, the Liberal W.A Government gets to make the decision (in cahoots with One Nation).
“If Senator Culleton is thrown out over the loss of a $7 key then the Liberals and One Nation do not get to choose his replacement. It goes to the number 2 on the ballot who is a One Nation True Believer, not of the new, ‘James Ashby (Liberal) One Nation’ that we see today.”
On March 8, 2017, Culleton warned of the looming “biggest Constitutional correction since federation.” It has occurred.