Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has defended working with One Nation, saying it's not a single-issue or personality-based party.
The Liberal Party is facing questions over its West Australian division preferencing Pauline Hanson's party ahead of the Nationals, and the possibility of other states and the federal division doing the same.
In 2001, then-Prime Minister John Howard insisted One Nation be preferenced last on Liberal how-to-vote cards in the wake of suggestions of racism.
However, Turnbull told reporters yesterday the minor party - which has three seats in the Senate and is set to have four after a court-ordered recount in WA - deserved respect.
"It is a substantial crossbench party in the Senate and it is taking a policy position on a wide range of issues," he said. "It is not a single-issue party or a single personality party. We deal with it constructively and respectfully because we respect the fact that each of those One Nation senators has been democratically elected."
It was a far cry from May last year, when on the election campaign trail Turnbull said Hanson was "not a welcome presence on the Australian political scene".
The Queensland Liberal-National Party is considering a deal with One Nation in the wake of a poll showing the minor party could win up to 23 per cent of the primary vote on the back of votes from traditional Liberal and Labor voters.
"That's a fair swag of voters ... we can't be dismissive of that," Queensland-based federal minister Steven Ciobo told ABC radio yesterday.
That didn't mean the coalition should embrace or "cuddle up" to One Nation policies, just as Labor would argue it didn't adopt all the "kooky" polices of the Greens when it preferenced the minor party.
Turnbull said preference decisions were up to individual state Liberal divisions.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he would never support preferencing One Nation above the federal coalition partner, the Nationals.
"I'd certainly be putting One Nation ahead of Labor and I'd be putting the National Party ahead of everyone," he told 2GB radio.