The Turnbull government is in crisis and its majority is on a knife-edge after the High Court disqualified deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce from Parliament, sparking what is set to be a bruising by-election.
The dramatic High Court decision to rule five politicians including Barnaby Joyce ineligible over dual citizenship has forced the Deputy Prime Minister to step down with a by-election to be held in his seat of New England.
It means Joyce won’t return to parliament until February at the earliest leaving the government to face the final two weeks of the year relying on the support of at least one cross-bencher to retain the confidence of parliament and pass legislation through the lower house.
PENALTY rates, a royal commission into the banking sector and legislation to follow the same-sex marriage postal vote could all be up in the air in the final weeks of parliament.
Independent Cathy McGowan has indicated she will support the government against any vote of no-confidence and for supply, however Labor politicians have suggested they may seek to take on the government over key issues.
Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said the party wouldn’t plan “mischief” but gave an indication it could exploit the government’s position to revisit penalty rate cuts and a banking royal commission — both issues the government won by one vote.
Labor MP Tony Burke told there are “real impacts” of legislation the government had won by a single vote.
“700,000 people, this Sunday, will be paid less. Why are they being paid less? The vote of one person, now found by the High Court to be unlawful. There are real impacts happening out there,” he said.
When asked if there was any legislation the party would try to torpedo, he said “we’re not going to try and blow up” the same sex marriage vote due following the survey results, but didn’t rule out other issues.
“We want to get that [SSM] vote done. So it’ll depend on what legislation is in front of us. There’s a whole lot of procedural barriers that you deal with in the parliament, and as Opposition, you’re not in control of everything — there are some things you need 76 votes for,” he said.
ABC political reporter David Lipson confirmed the “next month is going to be ugly”, expecting that Labor would try and test the penalty rates and banking royal commission issue.