Culleton in Lala Land

Posted: February 5, 2017 in Ranting
Tags: , , , ,

This was written after Culleton’s appearance at the High Court on January 31 and before Friday’s developments. But the essential attitudes are unchanged.

Oh, we’re off to see the Rodney

The wonderful Culleton of Oz

culleton

Rod Culleton considering his future (ABC News, Adam Kennedy)

Borrowing from The Wizard of Oz is not that inappropriate when it comes to Mister Rod Culleton. Judging from his performance at the High Court last Tuesday, Culleton is indeed in Lala Land. Although his chief of staff, Margaret Menzel, might be considered a poor substitute for Emma Stone.

Following the Federal Court finding him to be bankrupt last December, the President of the Senate, Senator Stephen Parry, referred to section 44 of the Constitution which prohibits a bankrupt from serving as a Senator. He then advised the WA Governor that the position formerly filled by Culleton was now vacant.

Culleton insists that he has not been declared bankrupt, citing the court placing a stay meaning the bankruptcy has not yet commenced. But the National Personal Insolvency Index, a federal register of undischarged bankrupts, includes Culleton in its listings dating from the day of the Court finding. Following Senator Parry’s finding, Culleton’s salary and benefits were ceased along with support for services including staff and offices.

Tuesday’s hearing was for Culleton’s appeal to the High Court to have all his salary, benefits and support reinstated, but most importantly, to have his title of Senator reinstated. The argument was that the Senate President did not have the authority to have declare Culleton no longer a Senator.

During presentations to the court on Tuesday morning, Culleton’s representative complained about the Attorney-General’s representatives referring to him in their submissions as ‘Mister’ rather than ‘Senator’. Pouring oil on troubled waters, Justice Stephen Gageler stated that Culleton would be referred to as ‘Senator’ “for the duration of the case.” Following presentations by both sides, Justice Gageler then retired to deliberate on his findings.

Prior to the court’s resumption, I overheard Mister Culleton assuring someone by telephone that things were going “really well” and that the other side were “already defeated.”

Once the court did resume, it took probably no more than ninety seconds for Justice Gageler to declare he was dismissing Culleton’s case and directing Culleton pay his own costs. Case closed. And Mister Culleton was visibly shocked by the result. In other words, the demands that Culleton’s salary, benefits, support and title of Senator be restored were refused by the High Court.

It took well over an hour for the normally press-friendly Culleton to emerge and face the music. It was then that he assured the waiting press and others that this had been a victory. He stated how gratifying it was for such a senior member of the judiciary to confirm that he was indeed still a Senator. When challenged that Justice Gageler had only allowed the title of Senator for the duration of the case which was now over, Culleton responded that the Justice hadn’t specifically said he wasn’t a Senator. By his reasoning, that meant he had just been confirmed as a Senator. Huh?

Culleton recently draw public attention to the suggestion he might be prosecuted for impersonating a Commonwealth official i.e. a Senator. Despite Tuesday’s loss, he insisted that the case had finished any suggestion of possible action for impersonation.

It really is hard to understand Mister Culleton’s reasoning. He applied to the Court to have his position and title of Senator restored. His case was dismissed. He lost. Yet Mister Culleton is quite adamant that the court confirmed he is still a Senator. Huh? He also declared that he will not recognise any actions until he has a piece of paper from the courts, informing him he is no longer a Senator.

Mister Culleton seems completely unable to face or understand harsh realities. Despite his claims to the contrary, he was declared a bankrupt with further hearings continuing to contest that. The President of the Senate did declare Culleton no longer eligible to serve in the Senate. Consequently, he is NOT a Senator any longer and shall not be one unless the decision of the President of the Senate is overturned and Culleton reinstated. The reality is that at this precise time, he is not a Senator.

Culleton also used Tuesday’s press conference to refer back to his original larceny conviction, reminding all that this had been made go away. However, there is again a very harsh reality that he is refusing to even face – that the conviction was still current at the time he sought election. And that is a very big hurdle that is yet to be gotten over in yet another court hearing about his eligibility to even stand for election.

So why are all these legal matters being thrown at him? Mister Culleton did not hold back from that at Tuesday’s conference. He assured those present that it was the Turnbull government who wanted him gone and that as a result, “horse trading” had been going on to achieve that end.

If Mister Culleton truly does believe that nobody has dismissed him from his Senate seat, that he has not been found bankrupt, that there is a cheering horde behind him in WA and that he was not convicted of a crime at the time he stood for election, then he is not just in a state of Lala Land. He would be more like a Wizard of Oz on a pretty wild LSD trip with a resulting complete lack of any grasp of reality.

UPDATE – On Friday, February 3rd, Culleton received his ‘piece of paper’ from the court. In fact he received two. The High Court very clearly found that he was NOT eligible for election as he DID have a criminal conviction pending sentencing at that time. The fact it was later amended to no conviction recorded after he pleaded guilty, did NOT change the fact it was a current conviction when he sought office. Later the same day the Federal Court upheld the earlier bankruptcy court finding against him, which also confirmed he was NOT eligible to be a Senator. His confidence on Tuesday, clearly encouraged by his perm-headed vulture chief of staff, was ridiculous. He got what he deserved. But the Culleton saga is not yet over. All his pay and super received while he was deemed a Senator, are now to be repaid but the Commonwealth is joining the list of debtors chasing Mister Culleton.

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