Regional MPs play key role in political crisis

Regional MPs play key role in political crisis


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Cathy McGowan.

Cathy McGowan.

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Independents and Nats MPs are emerging as big players in the Liberals' leadership crisis.

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Regional MPs are playing a crucial role in the unfolding drama in Canberra.

Lower House independent members are wary of a government led by Peter Dutton.

The Coalition holds power with a one seat majority, and any defections from its ranks would mean Mr Dutton has to govern in minority, relying on votes from the crossbench.

Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie said he would not guarantee confidence and supply to the government if Mr Dutton were PM.

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That means he could withhold his vote for Budget bills, blocking essential financial supply to the Commonwealth.

Victorian Cathy McGowan and South Australian Rebekah Sharkie said they may do the same.

Nationals minister Darren Chester said he would move to the crossbench if Mr Dutton took over, arguing Mr Dutton would drive voters from away from the Coalition in Victoria.

The Financial Review reported two other Nationals, Damian Drum and Kevin Hogan, are believed to be open to doing the same.

It is possible the crossbench could join with the Opposition and pass a no confidence motion, which could trigger an election if the Government cannot control the House.

Deputy PM and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said he would not comment on the leadership of the Liberal Party

“The Nationals don’t get to vote in the Liberal Party room. Other MPs are free to express their views and that’s how our democratic system works,” Mr McCormack said.

“Like my Nationals’ colleagues, I remain focused on standing up for the people of regional Australia.”

This morning Mr Dutton floated the idea of removing GST from electricity bills for families and pensioners.

Nationals Assistant Minister for Children and Families David Gillespie warned that the states could object.

"I don't think the states would like missing out on GST… at the moment that's going nowhere," Mr Gillespie said.

The Australian reports former Nationals Leader John Anderson said Mr Turnbull should consider stepping down to end the political crisis.

“From the Prime Minister down the only priority now should be how can I best serve the country. All of us need to recognise that if we cannot restore trust in the system our way of life is at risk,” Mr Anderson said.

The story Regional MPs play key role in political crisis first appeared on Farm Online.

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