Ex-minister defects from LNP to One Nation

Stuart Layt

Liberal National Party MP Steve Dickson has defected to One Nation, sending shockwaves through Queensland politics and returning Pauline Hanson's party to state parliament for the first time in eight years.

The 11-year member for Buderim blindsided his former party on Friday, jumping ship at a press conference with Senator Hanson and branding both the LNP and Labor out of touch.

"The major parties have lost their way. Now we have a chance to step up to the plate," the former Newman government racing minister said.

Mr Dickson claimed the issue of access to medicinal cannabis was the catalyst for him to switch parties, despite parliament voting to legalise the drug for medicinal purposes in October last year.

A police raid of a South Australian supplier on January 4 effectively cut off the supply of the drug to terminally-ill patients, with legal avenues not coming into effect until later in the year.

Mr Dickson said Senator Hanson was the only one willing to take up the issue as neither the prime minister nor Queensland premier answered his calls for an amnesty so patients could use the drug.

Senator Hanson has been advocating for medical cannabis to be legalised and earlier this week appealed to Malcolm Turnbull to intervene and deliver an amnesty.

But she said Mr Dickson was concerned about much more than just medicinal cannabis.

Senator Hanson said there were no deals done for him to join her party and would not guarantee him leadership.

"I believe that it was just through sheer frustration that Steve felt that he was not being able to be a voice for the people of Queensland in his electorate," she said.

LNP leader Tim Nicholls returned from holidays early to address the defection, slamming Mr Dickson's decision as purely self-interest, and nothing to do with medicinal cannabis.

"What Steve did today is exactly why people are fed up with politics," Mr Nicholls said.

"One Nation is doing exactly what Queenslanders hate - it is playing the political game."

LNP president Gary Spence blasted the defection as a "betrayal" and "breach of trust" of his electorate and former party.

Labor was quick to pounce on Mr Dickson's move, with Acting Premier Jackie Trad saying it was a "big vote of no confidence" in Mr Nicholls and the LNP.

One Nation won 11 seats at the 1998 state election but collapsed at the next election, and held just one seat until 2009 when Rosa Lee Long was voted out.

Mr Dickson's defection has an immediate effect on Queensland's hung parliament, leaving the LNP with 41 seats to Labor's 42, with the now-One Nation MP moving to an influential five-strong crossbench.

Griffith University senior lecturer Paul Williams believes it signals the start of a horse-trading period ahead of the election, due by early 2018 but tipped to be called later this year.

"I still think the LNP will finish with the most seats but it will be a hung parliament," he said.

He warned the poll could deliver the most "fraught and factitious" parliament in history.

"One Nation is more different from the LNP than the LNP is from Labor," he said.