PM refuses to do deal with One Nation
The Coalition is being challenged to put One Nation and independent Fraser Anning last in preferences allocations in the wake of the Christchurch mosque murders.
The issue could directly affect the government's re-election, particularly in Queensland.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison today declined to commit Liberals to putting the candidates at the bottom of party preference lists in the election expected in May.
However, Mr Morrison did tell reporters there would be no special arrangements: "Well, there'll be no preference deals with One Nation."
Labor Senate leader Penny Wong has indicated the Opposition will keep pressing the Coalition on the electoral ranking it will give Pauline Hanson's candidates and Queenslander Fraser Anning, a former One Nation candidate.
Senator Wong argues the Prime Minister should ensure "that he, like Labor, puts right wing extremists like Fraser Anning and Pauline Hanson last".
Senator Anning has attracted heated criticism for blaming Muslims for the Christchurch atrocity, which allegedly was committed by right-wing Australian Brenton Tarrant.
Pauline Hanson has declined to criticise Senator Anning, and declared she would abstain from a censure motion against him when parliament returns.
The preference issue has also been raised against Labor in Saturday's NSW election.
The Liberals have used former prime minister John Howard to question Labor's decision to preference the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
The federal Liberals have taken particular note of One Nation preferences in Queensland, where Pauline Hanson's party is most influential.
Last year the Liberals put One Nation above Labor in the Longman by-election north of Brisbane. That didn't prevent a Labor victory, although member Susan Lamb has a margin near 2 per cent.
Another incumbent with a tiny margin is Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in the neighbouring seat of Dickson.
The party will have to confront a strategic question over prioritising One Nation preferences in the effort to protect Mr Dutton.