Fraser Anning values loyalty.
That might seem like a strange claim to make about a man who quit his political party the very same morning he was sworn in. But as Senator Anning tells it, he didn't quit One Nation at all - rather he was forced out by a paranoid Pauline Hanson and her svengali chief of staff James Ashby.
Anning - a giant of a man but softly spoken and unfailingly polite - has long been loyal to Hanson.
He's a One Nation lifer, first running under Pauline's banner 20 years ago. He ran for her a number of times after that and helped out on some of her ill-fated campaigns during her years in the political wilderness. Like Hanson, he's a climate change sceptic and a fierce critic of Islam.
But they were more than just ideologically aligned: Anning and his wife Fiona considered Hanson a good friend.
When it became clear Malcolm Roberts was done for, Hanson sought to get in touch with Anning, who under an election recount would be next in line, but he was incommunicado in Costa Rica. So she tracked down his brother Harry, who managed to get a message to Anning.
But it wasn't to welcome him to the Senate.
"He told me to my surprise that Pauline was going to ask me to step aside, which was a shock after over 20 years supporting her," Anning tells Fairfax Media now as he sits in his still sparse new Parliament House office. It's the same office Roberts occupied until last month.
"It was an insult."
Nonetheless, Anning came to Canberra intending to be part of the One Nation team. By this stage he had assembled his staff - among them David Goodridge, Boston White and Leon Ashby, who all worked for Roberts.
This was causing consternation behind the scenes in the party. Hanson, Ashby and Roberts loyalist Sean Black believed the trio were traitors to the outgoing senator, hitching their wagon to the new man in town.
Goodridge was Roberts' chief of staff and is now Anning's chief of staff. He left Roberts' office on extended sick leave in May, alleging bullying. He and White are in the office during Fairfax Media's interview.
Outside, Goodridge's daughter is manning the phones, taking abuse from One Nation supporters who believe Anning betrayed Hanson on his first day. She politely explains that's not what happened.
Like the Annings, they are all in shock about how things developed on Monday - the most eventful of first days on the job.
First came a text from Hanson: "See me in my office at 8am."
He went and says he walked into a "hornet's nest".
"I walked into the meeting and there's a whole group of them around the table. She then proceeded to berate me like a 12-year-old schoolboy. And I thought, I didn't come in here for this," Anning says. "It was a silly thing for her to do that in front of people. To do that at any time at all was rude. It's schoolyard stuff."
Hanson would not let Goodridge or any of the other staffers near the meeting and said she would not allow any of them to work for him. Anning left and went back to his office. He was sworn in at 10am and then a short time later he saw the "Breaking News" on television that he had defected.
"She made the decision, not me," Anning says.
"I believe a lot of this is coming from James Ashby, who I think is the wrong person for her - or for anyone for that matter. I think there's only one person James Ashby is interested in and that's himself. She's been manipulated before but I think this is the worst of all her advisers.
"I guess he feels we're some sort of threat to his ambitions."
True or not, the claim speaks to an ongoing war between the party's old guard, like Anning, and the new, represented by Ashby.
But Anning says there was simply no chance he would stab his staff in the back.
"I certainly wasn't going to betray these guys, the only people who have given me any support at all. I got zero from her office. That would be showing gross disloyalty to decent people," he said. "So that's what actually happened. I didn't defect. She made my position pretty much untenable with her conditions."
So Hanson has lost a vote - and some influence - in the Senate. And Anning has lost a party, but no doubt gained some new political suitors.
Surely no one missed the fact that Cory Bernardi was at Anning's side when he first walked into the chamber to be sworn in?
"Jury's out on that," Anning says of his intentions to align with someone else. "We'll talk to some different people, I'm sure. There's no rush. If there's a home we feel that's a good fit then we'll talk to those people."