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Queensland MP Steve Dickson defects from LNP to join One Nation

The former racing minister announced his resignation from the LNP saying he wanted an amnesty for medicinal cannabis users to save children’s lives.

The former LNP racing minister Steve Dickson has been named as One Nation’s leader in Queensland.

Queensland MP Steve Dickson has defected from the Liberal National Party to join One Nation ahead of the next state election. On Friday federal leader Pauline Hanson announced that Dickson, the member for Buderim, would recontest his seat for One Nation at the Queensland election, due in or before 2018. Dickson was minister for national parks, recreation, sport and racing in the Newman government. Hanson said that she was “very proud” Dickson had joined One Nation, but also offered an apology to anybody disappointed he had switched parties. Hanson said she had not approached Dickson to defect and no “deal” was done, but he joined out of “sheer frustration”. Dickson will now be the only One Nation MP in the finely-balanced Queensland parliament, a crucial crossbench vote in the 89-seat parliament in which Labor governs with 42 seats. However, Hanson said the leader of the Queensland party was yet to be chosen because the party had not finalised its candidates. Nominations continued to roll in and One Nation would likely field a candidate in every seat, she said. Hanson said neither Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk nor LNP leader Tim Nicholls were showing foresight or vision and people were turning to One Nation for hope. “Yes Donald Trump in America, yes the Brexit, and other cases around the world ... that people are now saying ... we have a choice now.” Dickson declared he wanted to “put people before politics” and the two major parties had “lost their way”. He said he met with Hanson in his electorate last October. Dickson acknowledged many in the LNP would be disappointed, but said he was putting his career on the line to make Queensland a better state. Explaining the circumstances of his defection, Dickson said the crucial issue for him was an amnesty for medicinal cannabis users. Dickson said he had approached Palaszczuk, and asked the prime minister’s office for help on Monday but not received a return phone call. “The only politician in this country that came and offered me any help is standing beside me – senator Pauline Hanson. “I am a proud Queenslander but at the moment I am not proud because we are letting children suffer,” he said. Hanson said Dickson had spoken to her about other issues as well. “He wants to feel like he is worth something, not just being a yes person for the major parties,” Hanson said. Dickson said he had reached out to former LNP colleagues to say he “is not the enemy”, would continue to work with them and wanted the parliament to be more bipartisan. In 2015 Dickson sponsored a petition seeking legislation to exclude any group which advocates violence, seeks to promote or impose Sharia Law, or rejects the constitution from the definition of “religion...and places of worship”. Dickson’s son, Christian Dickson, cut ties with the LNP to run as an independent for Sunshine Coast council and over his involvement in an anti-mosque group. Queensland One Nation candidates have already sparked controversy, after Guardian Australia reported two had come under fire for promoting anti-gay messages and Port Arthur conspiracy theories. Mulgrave candidate Peter Rogers is the latest to face criticism after a post on his campaign website claimed that drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi was “alive and well” and that the Port Arthur massacre was “a fabricated incident”. Hanson revealed that Rogers had offered his resignation but she accepted his explanation he was not the author of the posts. “He, his own stupidity, he allowed someone to control his website. Now, that person has put up these comments without Peter’s knowledge,” she said.

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