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Rod Culleton Asks Politicians To Come Back To Work Early To Solve His Legal Troubles

Exclusive: Former One Nation senator Rod Culleton has written a letter asking for senators to be dragged back to work early.

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Former One Nation senator Rod Culleton has written a letter to the president of the Senate, asking him to recall Parliament "as a matter of urgency" to overturn his bankruptcy ruling.

In the letter, dated January 4, 2017, Culleton asked Senate president Stephen Parry to "invoke Standing Order 58 (b) and (c ) as a matter of urgency" and recall Parliament, to allow the Senate to decide "as a priority" whether the ruling is valid.

Culleton wants the Senate to be allowed to vote on overruling the Federal Court, which declared him bankrupt in December as the result of legal action taken by former Wesfarmers director Dick Lester, who is seeking $280,000 from Culleton.

The Australian Constitution prevents anyone who is bankrupt from running for, or sitting in, federal parliament.

But if the Senate votes to overturn his bankruptcy ruling, Culleton would be allowed to continue serving as a senator for Western Australia.

"The Senate needs to make the Federal Court of Australia competitive with the State Courts, instead of being blindingly accepting of their unconstitutional judgements," he wrote.

In the colourful letter Culleton attacked the Federal Court judges who made the ruling – exasperatedly declaring they earn a huge salary that is, "almost twice what a senator is paid". He said they should be forced to explain to the Senate their "unconstitutional" decision.

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In the letter, Culleton also asked Parry whether it was true that until the Senate confirmed the judgment it, "cannot have any automatic effect", and if so whether the bankruptcy verdict was therefore "unconstitutional and void".

Culleton is pushing for the Senate president to recall parliament and settle the matter.

"Could you consider a recall of the Senate for the purposes of resolving this difficult and pressing Constitutional question going to the very heart of good government," he wrote.

Culleton described what happened to him as a "gross miscarriage of justice". He blamed it on the court for failing to give him "sufficient time for argument and evidence" and for denying him "procedural fairness" normally seen in Australia.

The letter was written a day after Culleton was discharged from hospital after being involved in a scuffle with a One Nation member outside a Perth court.

The 52-year-old injured his wrist during a fall outside the court on Tuesday morning when One Nation member Anthony Fels tried to serve him bankruptcy papers.

Culleton claimed he was “ambushed” and threw off his jacket during the fight to “protect my family”.

Fels has applied to be a candidate of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party at the upcoming WA election, but has yet to be endorsed.

The matter is currently being dealt with by WA Police.

Culleton still believes the court got the ruling wrong. He told BuzzFeed News: "I'm not insolvent... you can’t bankrupt someone if they’re not insolvent".


Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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