Bloody Parliament House brawl as Pauline Hanson denies sexual harassment claim

Pauline Hanson has been ordered to pay $250,000 in damages after defaming former senator Brian Burston.

Pauline Hanson has been ordered to pay $250,000 in damages after defaming former senator Brian Burston. Photo: AAP

Pauline Hanson has denied sexually harassing Senator Brian Burston after a bloody scuffle in the corridors of Parliament on Wednesday night involving her chief of staff James Ashby. 

Declaring that she “might be 64, but I am not that desperate”, Senator Hanson emphatically denied the ugly claims that led to a physical clash between her former colleague and her current chief of staff.

The bizarre altercation, which was filmed by Mr Ashby, left the 70-year-old Senator Burston allegedly bleeding from cuts to his hand and prompted security to be notified of the clash just outside the Great Hall of Parliament. 

“My hand was injured when Ashby put his phone in the face of my wife and I defended her, fearing for her safety,” Senator Burston told The New Daily

“I injured my hand in trying to get the phone off her. [Mr Ashby] ambushed me after attending the Minerals Council dinner where he sat at the same table. Obviously a set up,” he said.

Mr Burston indicated he would report the matter to the Australian Federal Police and seek a restraining order.

Mr Ashby has disputed Senator Burston’s version of events.

In final bizarre note, security were then called to Senator Hanson’s office after a red substance, which One Nation’s staff member believed was blood, was smeared over a door.

But the One Nation leader argued Mr Ashby had done nothing wrong.

“James didn’t do anything, It’s a shame that it has come to this, it really is,” Senator Hanson said.

Senator Burston entered Parliament as a One Nation senator in 2016 before defecting to Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party last year.

Senator Hanson on Thursday said Senator Burston needed to “get some anger management” after the altercation.

“I think it’s retaliation and it’s a shame this is happening in Parliament,” Senator Hanson told reporters in Canberra.

“He really needs to go and get some anger management.”

Bill Shorten said One Nation was once again descending into chaos.

“It would be comic – except it’s not – it’s violence and unparliamentary conduct,” the Labor leader told reporters.

On Wednesday, Senator Burston told The New Daily that Senator Hanson had sexually harassed him in the past, after he was approached for comment on a speech the One Nation Leader made under parliamentary privilege. 

He also claimed Senator Hanson once rubbed her finger up his spine at a 1998 One Nation annual general meeting at the Rooty Hill RSL in Sydney. 

Senator Hanson on Wednesday night rejected as “a joke” the allegations she had ever sexually propositioned Senator Burston or repeatedly sexually harassed him. 

“I might be 64, but I am not that desperate,” she said. 

“I just think they are so hilarious. I really do. I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Senate President Scott Ryan has launched an urgent investigation into the fight between Senator Burston and Mr Ashby.

Senator Ryan said he has spoken to House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith about the clash.

“We will be looking into this matter as a matter of urgency. We both regard this as a grave matter,” Senator Ryan told Parliament on Thursday.

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