New Victorian Senator Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiast Party has given the first indication that he may come to vote with the Opposition on a FOFA disallowance motion.
In the afternoon session of parliament yesterday, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari initiated a motion to force the government into tabling the regulations amending FOFA, backed by Senator Muir along with the Greens, the Democratic Labour Party’s John Madigan, independent Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie, one of the three Palmer United Party (PUP) senators.
While Mr Muir has previously indicated he would vote as part of a bloc with PUP, he yesterday broke with Cliver Palmer’s party line to vote with Labor and the Greens against one of the government’s carbon tax repeal measures, leading the The Sydney Morning Herald to remind readers that Mr Muir is “not a full- time PUP senator”.
In a communication released last week, consumer advocate and vociferous FOFA-amendment opponent Choice also reiterated that despite the supposed bloc voting deal in place with PUP, Mr Muir has not publicly “indicated how [he] would approach a [FOFA] disallowance motion”.
The move indicates that despite Mr Muir’s shock voting movements on the carbon tax, that the government may not be able to rely on the Motoring Enthusiasts for support of its FOFA amendment Bill.
Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm, however, voted against Senator Dastyari’s motion – having previously told ifa he had not come to a “final position” – as did Family First Senator Bob Day.
The government subsequently tabled the regulation at 3.48pm, prompting Minter Ellison partner Richard Batten to issue a statement explaining that the tabling of the document now means that Labor’s slated disallowance motion could proceed.
“It is not yet clear whether the opposition will move to disallow all or only part of the regulation,” Mr Batten said. “As many non-controversial aspects of the Regulation make important technical amendments to the FOFA regime, it is to be hoped that the opposition will be selective in any notice of motion they table.”
Speaking to ifa yesterday, the FPA’s Dante De Gori also speculated that “the reason why [Senator] Dastyari is pushing it is Labor can’t put in a motion to disallow the regulations until they’re tabled”.
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