Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has issued a warning to regional NSW MPs, with senator Brian Burston saying the party is ready for a showdown in 2019.
The party will run contestants in at least seven lower house seats at the 2019 state election, including the electorates of Dubbo (held by former deputy premier Troy Grant) and Monaro (held by NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro).
Earlier this year the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) party declared its intentions to target seven Nationals-held seats: Barwon, Bathurst, Murray, Cootamundra, Dubbo, Upper Hunter and Monaro.
Senator Burston said One Nation planned to contest “all of those National party seats, plus many more”.
“No doubt we'll be in competition with the Shooters and Fishers but I'm sure we can come to some sort of arrangement … we've got similar policies so I think we'd be preferencing each other,” he said.
“We've polled a lot stronger in Western Australia than the Shooters and I think that will be the case here as well.
“Even at the last federal election, we polled quite well in the rural areas. Even though we didn't run a high profile campaign, we still polled about 10 per cent in those rural areas.”
That included 9.36 per cent of the senate vote in the division of Parkes, a result that helped catapult senator Burston into the upper house.
He expected that figure to double by 2019.
Despite reports a controversial preference deal with the Liberal party negatively affected both parties’ results in the recent West Australian election, senator Burston said One Nation continued to rise in popularity.
He pointed to the party’s performance in the upper house where it secured 8.15 per cent of the vote – the third highest behind WA Labor (41.14 per cent) and the Liberal Party (27.21 per cent), and more than both The Nationals (4.40 per cent) and The Greens (7.96 per cent).
Senator Burston was confident the “Trump factor” would continue, and said “political correctness” and the “abandoning of the regions by the major parties” would continue to drive people towards minor groups like One Nation.
“They're sick of the political elite,” he said.
“We’ll be looking forward to the election and we’ll see how we go.
“[Trump] hasn’t changed much as President.
“He's still speaking the language of the people he represents and that's what people like: one of their own being elected.”