NEWLY elected One Nation WA Senator Rod Culleton has declared he’d stand down from the federal parliament, rather than plead guilty to stealing a $27,000 hire car.
A trial is set for the Magistrates Court in Perth next week over charges laid by police against Mr Culleton, after an incident involving a fiery farm foreclosure at Cuballing, in WA’s south-eastern Wheatbelt.
On Friday March 13 last year, the vehicle at the centre of the Senator’s theft charge was used by two receivers from RSM Bird Cameron, appointed by the ANZ Bank, to travel to the farming property.
While the receivers were inside the farm-house talking to the owner Bruce Dixon on Black Friday, their rental vehicle was surrounded by straw bales to impede its passage.
Narrogin police were called out to the scene after Mr Culleton led a fightback involving other farmers where the receivers were ordered off the property after their claim to be in legal possession of the farm was disputed.
Mr Culleton has said he’s only been charged due to being the ring-leader on the day during the civil disobedience incident that featured in a 60 Minutes program that interrogated emotive issues with farm foreclosures and bank lending practices.
That episode broadcast in April last year also looked at receivership issues with Mr Culleton’s farm at Williams that went into receivership in 2013 and links to the takeover of the Landmark rural loans book by ANZ which has been cited as his prime motivation for entering parliament.
Next week’s trial comes after Mr Culleton also had a larceny charged annulled in a NSW court last week relating to a $7.50 key and an altercation with a tow truck driver during the attempted repossession of a vehicle linked to the Senator’s Guyra based stock feed business.
Mr Culleton said prosecutors spoke to his lawyers last week and offered him a deal to take the “criminality” out of the vehicle theft charge, in next week’s trial.
He said the “true position” was that Mr Dixon had called for his help on the day and his farms were subsequently saved from foreclosure, which meant he was successful as the leader, or head spokesperson, in removing the “unlawful receivers”.Source: This article first appeared in www.farmweekly.com.au Author: COLIN BETTLES