Rod Culleton is planning to gatecrash parliament next week, announcing his intention to sit in the chamber and hang out in his office.
The only problem is, he's officially no longer a senator. His title has been stripped, his office cleared out, and the name on his door removed. Culleton, the former One Nation member who struck out on his own after a public bust-up with Pauline Hanson, was declared insolvent in late 2016; after being declared bankrupt (in a court finding he disputes), he was no longer eligible to be a senator and was therefore relieved of his title.
But try telling him that. He arrived at Canberra airport on Tuesday morning, telling gathered journalists that he was going to check in at his (now empty) office, and plans to sit in the Senate next week when parliament resumes.
"I am a duly elected senator and I have made my position very clear," he said.
"Unless I have a court order that clearly says that I can no longer serve as a senator or I may have breached some part of the Constitution, I'm a senator," Culleton said.
Culleton's chief of staff reportedly chided journalists for not addressing him as "Senator".
Former senator Rodney Culleton says he believes he's still a member of the Senate and will attend Parliament next week #auspol— Tom McIlroy (@TomMcIlroy) January 30, 2017
The Western Australian said he was heading to Parliament House, but it's unclear what he will find there, or what greeting he will receive. His chief of staff spent Australia Day cleaning out his office and the nameplate has been removed from the door.
Culleton is battling to have that bankruptcy ruling set aside, but he is still fighting his removal in the High Court on another front. His well-publicised conviction for larceny may have prevented him from being eligible for election in the first place and he is still working to address that case, and will appear in court on Tuesday.
Journalists asked whether Culleton was charging the taxpayer for his travel, but he did not give a definitive answer. The question of whether Culleton is still allowed to travel on the public dime may have been answered when he tried to secure a Comcar, reserved for politicians.
Culleton was unsuccessful, and ultimately departed the airport in a regular taxi.
We'll let you know when parliament resumes next week if he tries to storm the gate and take his seat in the Senate.