It’s Tuesday, which means it is party room day, and boy oh boy I would love to be a fly on the Akubra I assume hangs on the wall of the Nationals party room.
After Labor humiliated the government on Monday, by nominating rebel LNP MP Llew O’Brien for the deputy Speaker role, over Michael McCormack’s pick of Damian Drum – and won, with the help of at least five rogue government MPs (Ken O’Dowd, Barnaby Joyce and O’Brien himself, with the other two not confirmed, but very, very easy to guess), McCormack and Scott Morrison are struggling to pretend everything is just bibbity boppity boo in the junior Coalition partner.
O’Brien remains in the government, but will sit as a LNP MP, not a National. He now wants the Queenslanders to sit as LNP MPs across the board. The Greatest Nation on Earth formally married the Coalition partners under Lawrence Springborg’s direction a few years ago, and every now and then, one of them gets shirty at either the Liberal party or National party federally, and starts making noises about a separate party room. Nothing ever comes of it, but that doesn’t mean they stop.
So O’Brien won’t be in the party room today when the Nationals work out what the hell happened over the last 24 hours.
O’Dowd, who admitted on national TV he not only voted for O’Brien against the party’s wishes, he was also going to run himself, may have some explaining to do, but his job as deputy Nationals whip – the guy who runs around making sure the Nats keep toeing the party line – is allegedly safe:
A ballot in the House of Representatives is a free and fair vote, Mr O’Dowd is entitled to his democratic right as a member of parliament. This was not a vote on government legislation or a matter of supply for the Australian government and both candidates in the ballot are members of the government,” a spokeswoman for McCormack said.
McCormack tried to shrug it all off as “that’s democracy”.
But Drum, who missed out on the $42,000 pay rise, extra staffer and the prestige of overseeing the federation chamber (where speeches go to die) may actually crack his teeth if he keeps gritting them so hard through his fake smile.
Well, I just didn’t think … anyway, I was pretty surprised,” he told reporters as he got in his comcar overnight.
We’ll cover all of that and more as the sitting week rolls on. You have Mike Bowers, Katharine Murphy, Paul Karp and Sarah Martin along for the ride. I am going to hunt down my second coffee, so that’s a win.
Let’s get in to it.