TREVOR Poulton, the controversial figure at the centre of a renewed storm over Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s eligibility to sit in Parliament, has dramatically quit the Australian Labor Party.
Poulton – who authored a 2012 fiction novel titled The Holocaust Denier – made headlines last month after he said he was “briefing certain constituents in Kooyong” to file a High Court challenge against Frydenberg, claiming he is a dual citizen.
The challenge – mounted by climate activist Michael Staindl – focuses on Frydenberg’s Hungarian-born mother Erica Strausz, who arrived in Australia after the Holocaust as a stateless refugee.
A lawyer representing Staindl told The AJN Staindl has “never spoken with nor communicated with Trevor Poulton on this matter at any time”.
The court action claims it makes the Treasurer, the Member for the Melbourne seat of Kooyong, a dual citizen, ineligible to be an MP under Section 44 of the Constitution.
Last month, federal Labor MP Josh Burns called for Poulton to be expelled from the party, and lodged a formal complaint with the Victorian branch of the ALP.
“There is no place in the Labor Party for Holocaust deniers,” Burns said.
“Mr Poulton’s past comments relating to the Holocaust, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and his denigration of Waleed Aly and Adam Goodes made it very clear he has no place in the modern, multicultural Labor Party which is devoted to fighting racism, antisemitism and bigotry in all its forms.
“I am also appreciative of the support I received from many of my Labor colleagues, including Anthony Albanese, in pursuing the expulsion of Mr Poulton.”
Poulton resigned his membership ahead of a dispute hearing that was scheduled for today (Tuesday).
He told media that accusations of antisemitism against him are a Coalition “war plan” to save the Kooyong seat for the Liberals.
Poulton’s resignation has been hailed by senior members of the ALP, who say this is a “very good outcome”.
Full coverage in this week’s AJN, out on Thursday.