A member of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in Western Australia’s upper house has quit, citing “enduring poor party leadership” at a state level.
Charles Smith told state parliament on Tuesday night it was the “end of a long line of frustrations” for him and he would now sit as an independent.
The former policeman was elected in 2017 with One Nation state leader Colin Tincknell and Robin Scott.
One Nation has been able to provide a substantial block to the Labor government’s legislative agenda along with other crossbenchers, but the party has been plagued by infighting.
Mr Smith said he felt “suffocated by a complete lack of leadership and direction” from Mr Tincknell.
“It seems that Queensland just wanted bums on seats in WA,” he said on Wednesday.
“We usually don’t know the ‘party-direction’ until we meet on the morning that parliament sits.
“Nobody knows what is going on. It is not hard to send an email stating what position will be taken on each issue, yet that doesn’t happen.”
Mr Tincknell said Mr Smith’s resignation would not greatly affect the party and very little would change.
“I’m disappointed for the people of the East Metro region,” he said.
“They voted on the policies and platform that Pauline Hanson and One Nation espouse and now, they are left with an independent whose priorities change from day to day.”
Premier Mark McGowan said he was unsure whether it would now be easier to get legislation through the upper house.
“Obviously the government will continue to advocate for our legislative agenda to get through the upper house,” he told reporters.
Political analyst Harry Phillips told AAP it might be a “slightly easier situation” for Labor to deal with Mr Smith as an independent.
“It would at least marginally help the government to get contentious legislation through,” he said.
Of the 32 people who have served in various Australian parliaments for One Nation, 22 have now either quit parliament, resigned from the party, been disqualified or expelled.
That includes all three One Nation members in WA who were elected to state parliament in 2001 then later resigned.
Mr Phillips described Mr Smith’s deflection as history repeating itself.
“Pauline Hanson seems to have public appeal but … her incapacity to keep a loyal team is perhaps a flaw in her leadership,” he said.