Sledges, allegations and scuffle alleged in One Nation senator lawsuit

A former One Nation Senator has told a court he did nothing wrong by firing multiple staff, including one dubbed “numbnut”, publicly naming a woman accusing him of sexual harassment as well as allegedly “goading” another leading One Nation figure before taking out an AVO against him.
Former Senator Burston is suing One Nation founder and leader Pauline Hanson for defamation in the Federal Court after the pair very publicly fell out in 2019.
He is suing Ms Hanson over a Facebook post, a television interview and texts to his wife which he claims falsely painted him as a “pervert” who sexually harassed his female staff.
Ms Hanson is defending the claims as substantially true.
Mr Burston has told the court Ms Hanson was punishing him for refusing to follow her in flip-flopping on supporting or blocking tax cuts for big business.
Ms Hansonstod up in the senate in February 2019 and said a senator was facing multiple sexual harassment and unfair dismissal claims from his staffers – and then shared the speech on her popular Facebook page.
he Federal Court has heard Ms Hanson also texted Mr Burston’s wife days later saying everyone in Parliament knew the senator was infatuated with a staffer.
The senator’s wife, Ros Burston, told the court she was in the public gallery of the senate to hear the speech.
“I knew all the allegations were false but I was distraught or upset that all of those lies were said, without qualms,” she told the court.
“He was upset because none of it was true.”
Mr Burston had fired multiple staff in the years leading up to the fallout, the court heard, and some lodged formal complaints of unfair dismissal.
They were conspiring in their claims, Mr Burston suggested at the time, the court heard.
The former senator told the court some had disobeyed his direct directives, others had leaked to the press and one had gotten drunk and gone on a foul-mouthed tirade when he threatened to sack her.
It was a “mutual” decision to end the employment of one staffer, he told the court, despite appearing to issue an ultimatum that the staffer should either quit or be fired, a letter read in court showed.
“He said ‘no, no terminate me, I’ll get more money’,” Mr Burston told the court, recalling the meeting with the staffer.
Mr Burston sent a text message to another staffer which shared a termination message he’d sent to another worker in his office.
“Here’s what I sent to numbnut,” Mr Burston wrote.
The implosion of Mr Burston’s relationship with One Nation caused a flurry of news coverage, some of which is now part of the lawsuit, including a story in which the senator identified a female staffer who accused him of sexual harassment.
Wendy Leach, who is expected to give evidence in the case, claims Mr Burston sexually harassed her – but the senator denies that.

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