Coalition’s lesson in politics

The Government lost three consecutive votes in the Lower House yesterday, as Labor outmanoeuvred the Coalition to ensure a debate on a royal commission into banking.

Labor outmanoeuvred the Coalition by voting against the usual 4.30pm adjournment of Parliament yesterday, resulting in the Coalition’s usual majority being undermined by three of its ministers being unavailable.

Labor then pressed to pass a motion for the Government to hold a banking royal commission. It won the first three votes while a number of MPs were absent, which effectively brought forward the royal commission motion.

It is the first time in decades that a majority Government has lost a vote in the House, further highlighting the Coalition’s struggles to manage Parliament.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said Labor’s tactics should provide a learning curve for many MPs, including Malcolm Turnbull.

“All of us are learning lessons all the time, whether you’re a journalist, a Member of Parliament, a whip or even a prime minister,” said Tony Abbott.

While Liberal MPs claimed that the manoeuvre was a political stunt, Labor’s Michael Danby said it was a “legitimate political tactic”, with fellow Labor MP Wayne Swan saying that the Coalition being caught out proved the Government was in a “shambles”.

Coalition MP Ken Wyatt said the move was a reminder for MPs “not [to] leave until the House is adjourned”.

Liberal MP Russell Broadbent believes the events that transpired on Thursday night would not be forgotten quickly.

“There’ll be a few people that will rue this day and remember this day for the rest of their political careers,” Mr Broadbent said.

Treasurer Scott Morrison was unimpressed by Labor’s tactics.

“What we’re seeing here this afternoon Mr Speaker is a stunt, a stunt from an Opposition to promote their stunt which is the royal commission,” said Mr Morrison.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told the House of Reps that, all accusations aside, Labor would not back down from its calls for a probe into financial sector wrongdoing.

“We will never give up on this royal commission,” Mr Shorten said. “We may succeed tonight or we may not, but I give the Government fair notice on behalf of people who want justice.”

Mr Turnbull criticised Labor for its tactic, saying that the only people who would benefit from a royal commission would be lawyers, declaring that “populism” will not help the victims of banking industry scandals. He believes the Government is already taking practical action to sort out the nation’s financial services fiasco.

“What we have in place are ombudsman services. We have legal services. We have ASIC,” the Prime Minister said. “The only beneficiaries from a royal commission would be, frankly, the legal profession.”

What do you think of Labor’s moves? Does this prove that the Government is in a mess? Why do you think the Coalition is adamantly against a royal commission into the financial sector? Do you want to see such a royal commission? Does this move prove that Labor is winning the ‘politics’ game at the moment?

Read more at The Guardian

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