ONE Nation leader Pauline Hanson will take-over chairing the Senate Select committee inquiry into farm lending issues after the disqualification of her fellow Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts.
Mr Roberts was chair of the Committee examination which was set up in February this year to investigate how banks and financial agents are treating farmers; in particular during highly sensitive farm foreclosure procedures.
But he was also caught-up in the High Court decision last week which saw three other Senators disqualified from parliament due to dual citizenship, along with New England MP and Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce who is now headed for a by-election on December 2, to try to reclaim his seat of New England.
Mr Roberts said Senator Hanson would now become Chair of the Senate Committee inquiry following his disqualification and the examination process – where 10 public hearings have already been held and other due in Canberra in mid-November - would continue.
“I’ve got a lot of time for the Committee deputy Chair (NSW Nationals Senator) John “Wacka” Williams and so does Pauline,” he said.
“I can’t talk about the inquiry because I’m no longer a Senator.
“But what I can say is Pauline Hanson is my replacement in the Chair’s role and I’ve got no doubt she’ll do a great job.
“I’ve enjoyed working on the Committee, especially along with “Wacka” Williams – he’s been fabulous - and he and Pauline have been working together on this already and they share a lot of mutual respect and I’d expect that will continue.”
Mr Roberts said the disqualification was an example of the “constitution at work” and he was “perfectly happy” with the process where the judgement ruled he’d been honest and credible in his testimony and evidence in seeking to renounce his dual citizenship.
But he was ruled to be a dual national at the time of nominating for last year’s election and therefore breached Section 44 of the constitution.
The Senate inquiry held a hearing in Canberra on October 20 which Mr Roberts chaired, and Senator Hanson fired questions, which called a range of farm receivers as witnesses, to give evidence.
The Committee is due to hand down its report on November 29 this year.