Pauline Hanson's One Nation has dumped its rising political star Stuart Bonds following a bitter falling out over the party's support for controversial industrial relations reforms.
While previously indicating he was only interested in the federal arena, Mr Bonds said on Saturday evening that he was keeping his options open regarding running as an independent in the upcoming Upper Hunter byelection.
It followed a statement issued by One Nation on Saturday afternoon that invited nominations from those interested in being the party's candidate for the federal Seat of Hunter, which Mr Bonds almost won from Labor in the 2019 federal election.
The statement said One Nation's decision to seek a new federal candidate was the result of Mr Bonds' inability to "commit his support to the party"
"Hunter residents live in fear of the knowledge that both major parties have an ultimate goal to put a stop to coal mining in NSW. This will mean the death of up to 110,000 coal mining jobs and destroy the livelihoods and viability of the region," National executive treasurer Alex Jones said.
"We have a year to prepare for the next federal election, and want someone as equally passionate about preserving the Hunter mining industry as Mark Latham and Rod Roberts."
Mr Bonds, who spent two years campaigning against casual mine workers and wage theft, publicly threatened to quit the party after One Nation senators Malcolm Roberts and Pauline Hanson supported a bill on March 17 that could halve casual miners' compensation claims in class actions for working regular hours.
He told a fundraiser following the Senate vote that he had been inundated with calls from Hunter miners who felt betrayed by the party.
"Some of the phone calls I've had were quite upsetting, disturbing, and so I'm voicing my disappointment right here....," he told the gathering.
Mr Bonds told the Newcastle Herald on Saturday night that he had no regrets about severing ties with One Nation.
"They were looking for a reason to get rid of me because they knew I wasn't going to toe the line," he said.
"I was not prepared to sacrifice my integrity as a person by supporting what I consider to be a blatant lie. I don't care about my political future, my integrity comes first.
Mr Bonds said the rise of labour-hire firms employing casuals in the industry had "brought absolute misery and divided the workforce".
"They are happy to for blokes to work for 40, 50 or 60 hours a week in the mines and still be considered casual. Sure, they can ask to become full time after 12 months but the employers can just manipulate the system to keep them employed as casuals.
"Every time this has been tested in court the workers have won."
Mr Bonds did not rule out running as an independent in the upcoming Upper Hunter byelection.
"I have got unfinished business at the federal level, but I'm keeping all my options open. My phone is on," he said.
One Nation is expected to run a candidate in the byelection.