Queensland Senator touts Gladstone ties in three-day visit
FRASER Anning wasn't elected to the Australian Parliament in the most conventional manner - but these days few politicians are.
The Queensland Senator, who owns a home in Gladstone, held the third spot on the One Nation ticket at the 2016 election, and was parachuted in after the High Court ruled Malcolm Roberts was not eligible for election.
But within hours of his swearing in, the senator had publicly split from the party after clashing with party founder Pauline Hanson.
Last month he became a member of Katter's Australian Party, having known Bob Katter for decades.
"He can be weird at times," Senator Anning said of his new party leader.
"But he's a good person who wants to do good things for Queensland and he's been doing it for a long time."
Senator Anning once worked in Gladstone as a pub rescue consultant, turning around the fates of hotels in trouble, as well as a stint with Bechtel.
He is spending three days in Gladstone this week, meeting with industry leaders like Gladstone Ports Corporation chair Leo Zussino to discuss priorities in the port city.
Speaking to The Observer yesterday, Senator Anning said his position on the crossbench and friendship with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann put him in a good position to push for infrastructure projects like the Port Access Rd, a direct route through to Agnes Water and support for the hydrogen industry.
But he said he and fellow right-wing Senators Cory Bernardi and David Leyonhjelm believed a cooperative approach was the way to go about it.
"We're not like some of the other Senators who are silly enough to just hold out and hold out," Senator Anning said.
"Better off getting it done for Australia then going back (to the government) and saying 'I helped you get this done, now I'll ask for something'," he said.
He pointed to the United States' recent tax-cut package and slashing of regulations as an example of the kind of government he would like to see take hold in Australia.
But when asked if he would like to be the Australian Donald Trump, Senator Anning said he wasn't "aspiring to be the leader of the country".
Senator Hanson's assertion that he had been asked to stand for Gladstone in last year's state election was also met with a fresh rebuttal yesterday.
"Absolute b------t," he said.