Maverick Nick Xenophon to return to politics after representing banned Chinese firm Huawei as a strategic adviser
- Nick Xenophon was a senator for South Australia from 2008 to 2017
- His bid for SA parliament backfired when SA Best party failed to win any seats
- He now wants return to senate and is tipped to win the fifth or sixth SA spot
Maverick Nick Xenophon is eyeing a return to politics at the next election.
The 62-year-old lawyer was a senator for South Australia from 2008 to 2017 before running for state parliament, a move which backfired when his SA Best party failed to win any seats.
He now wants return to the senate and is tipped to win the fifth or sixth South Australia spot at next year’s election.
Political maverick Nick Xenophon (pictured in 2018) is eyeing a return to politics at the next election
The former senate power broker is an ex-Liberal member but considers himself a centrist who can help counter the influence of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
Mr Xenophon will campaign on aged care, public health, drug rehabilitation and defence, having raised concerns that scrapping a submarine deal with France would cost jobs in Adelaide where the boats were meant to be built.
‘Like Al Pacino in The Godfather, once I thought I was out, they try to drag me back in,’ he told ABC radio Wednesday.
‘I would run as an independent – it’s where my natural habitat is as a pesky independent.’
Last year Mr Xenophon was criticised by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for his work as ‘strategic counsel’ for Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which had been banned from supplying 5G in Australia due to concerns about Chinese spying.
Nick Xenophon outside Parliament House in Canberra with Jacqui Lambie in 2016
Mr Turnbull said Mr Xenophon’s legal firm XenophonDavis should be placed on the foreign influence register.
‘Given Nick’s background, it’s difficult to believe that the only reason that they’ve retained him for is his legal skills,’ he said in July last year.
‘Is he also seeking to influence governments and public opinion and is he doing more than just being the lawyer giving advice on technical legal matters?’
XenophonDavis replied to Mr Turnbull on Twitter, saying: ‘You know we don’t need to be on the Foreign Influence Register.’
Mr Xenophon’s decision to throw his hat back into the ring follows a long-running legal battle with US footwear company Dekkers over use of the term ‘ugg’.
Sydney bootmaker Eddie Oygur was sued by Dekkers in 2016 for selling 13 pairs of ugg boots to US customers, after a US court found Dekkers had the sole rights to using the term ‘ugg’.
Former SA Best Leader Nick Xenophon is seen campaigning outside Newton Shopping Centre in Adelaide in 2018
While the federal government has contributed $200,000 to fight the case, Mr Xenophon said the commonwealth had fallen short of assisting Mr Oygur as a ‘friend of the court’, which means there’s little chance an appeal would be heard by the US Supreme Court.
‘The (Australian) government is being so out on touch on this,’ Mr Xenophon, who returned to the legal profession after he left the Senate.
‘I don’t know why they won’t do what’s needed for every ugg boot maker in the country.’
During his almost decade-long stint in federal parliament, Mr Xenophon acted as a critical vote on the Senate crossbench.
Mr Xenophon resigned from politics in 2017 at the height of the dual citizenship scandal, after he announced he was unsure whether he was a dual citizen, which would have made him ineligible to run for parliament.
However, the High Court later found Mr Xenophon was validly elected and able to run for office.
He turned his attention to South Australian politics, running for a lower house in the 2018 state election under the SA Best party, but failed.
Senator Nick Xenophon arrives at the Senate entrance holding a novelty doormat in 2017