Hanson: ‘I didn’t sexually harass him’
PAULINE Hanson has smacked down sensational claims she sexually harassed the only elected representative of Clive Palmer's United Australia Party, describing fellow senator Brian Burston's accusations as a "load of bloody rubbish".
Mr Burston yesterday told News Corp Australia that Ms Hanson's unwanted advances over two decades were a factor in his decision to quit One Nation last year and join Mr Palmer's new party.
"Right back when we had our first One Nation AGM at the Rooty Hill RSL (in 1998), that was the first time she hit on me," he said.
He claimed that while they were standing on stage listening to the national anthem she "rubbed her fingers up my spine".
He alleged that since he was elected in 2016 she had propositioned him at her home in Queensland and at a Canberra serviced apartment - claims Ms Hanson vehemently denied.
"I wouldn't go near him with a barge pole," she said.
Mr Burston hit out after Ms Hanson on Tuesday night told the Upper House an unnamed senator who had been involved in "more than six" unfair dismissal cases in this term of parliament was facing "another serious sexual harassment investigation".
Mr Burston told News Corp Australia there was "no doubt" Ms Hanson had been referring to him.
"It's all bulls. t," he said. "This is a woman scorned.
"One of the reasons I left One Nation was because of the sexual harassment," Mr Burston said.
He claimed in 2018 he was in a lift with Ms Hanson at a serviced apartment complex in Canberra - after they had dinner with no other people - when she said she was not expecting anyone for an hour and a half before uttering the words "what do you reckon?"
And he recounted an offer to "stay the night" made while visiting Ms Hanson's Queensland home last year with his then chief of staff Peter Breen.
"There was nothing innocent" about either of Ms Hanson's remarks, Mr Burston claimed.
Ms Hanson confirmed the pair had come to her house - Mr Breen was drawing up her will while Mr Burston measured out a back deck. But she said she did not proposition Mr Burston.
Mr Breen told News Corp Australia he witnessed what happened.
"For Brian to suggest that was some kind of advancement by Pauline is just ridiculous," he said.
"I can't recall an occasion where she hasn't invited someone to stay," he said. There was separate accommodation on her property, he added, which was an over an hour from Brisbane airport.
"Pauline Hanson has much better taste than to be sexually harassing Brian Burston."
Ms Hanson said: "I just feel it's quite hilarious that he's made these allegations against me."
One Nation co-founder David Ettridge, who was also on the stage during the 1998 AGM, said he did not see Ms Hanson rub Mr Burston's back and that he had never seen Ms Hanson sexually harass Mr Burston.
Mr Ettridge, who is now a United Australia Party member, said he believed Mr Burston was an "honourable fellow" and he was "shocked by the suggestion (Mr Burston) was sexually harassing staff". He said he had spoken to Mr Burston as recently as a week ago.
"He has never acted in a manner that would make me think that that was part of his personality," Mr Ettridge said.
When News Corp asked Mr Burston if he had ever had to defend allegations of sexual harassment he replied: "Not yet."
"I always treat my staff with the utmost respect," he said, adding he was only aware of two unfair dismissal cases brought by his staff.
Mr Burston quit One Nation in June last year, saying he had not been consulted on the party's decision to withdraw support for Government plans to cut company tax.