INDI MP Cathy McGowan is keeping her electorate guessing whether a 2016 pledge on confidence and supply to the Coalition government will transfer to Malcolm Turnbull’s potential replacement as Prime Minister on Friday.
Fellow crossbencher Bob Katter has already flagged his intention to pledge his confidence in one of the rival prime ministerial contenders, Peter Dutton, after losing faith in Mr Turnbull.
The question of ongoing confidence has been hanging over Ms McGowan since Mr Dutton launched his first, but unsuccessful challenge to Mr Turnbull on Tuesday.
McGowan said in a statement she would await until the Prime Minister position was fully resolved.
“I wish the Liberal Party a speedy resolution on behalf of the country,” she said.
“There will be important decisions to follow.
“Until such time as the Liberal leader is determined, I am not in a position to make a decision on confidence.
“I will continue to stay in close contact with all relevant parties in the next few days.”
Ms McGowan acknowledged Indi constituents who had already made their opinions known to her office in recent days after stating she would gauge their feedback on confidence.
“I welcome any other constituents who want to share their thoughts,” she said.
Her original pledge of confidence to the Turnbull Government was made in the days after its one-seat election victory was confirmed, but the agreement to back the Coalition was made with the Prime Minister only.
Even though Ms McGowan said there were “no deals” agreed to with Mr Turnbull she did secure additional staff members.
On Thursday she voted with Labor in wanting to refer Mr Dutton to the High Court in relation to questions over his personal links to childcare centres in Queensland.
The vote was narrowly lost 68-69 with fellow crossbenchers Rebekha Sharkie, Adam Bandt and Andrew Wilkie also siding with Labor.
Ms McGowan said her position remained consistent with her decision to refer MPs to the Court of Disputed Returns last year when there were questions relating to citizenship.
“Where there is doubt, it is important the situation is clarified,” she said.
Mr Katter wasn’t in parliament yesterday for the vote on Mr Dutton.
Farrer MP Sussan Ley could have a choice of three candidates when the Liberal party room decides on a new leader on Friday with Mr Dutton being joined by treasurer Scott Morrison and deputy leader Julie Bishop in the race.
Ms Ley has not disputed reports she voted for Mr Dutton to replace Mr Turnbull on Tuesday.
She has declined to comment on the latest leadership ructions, but could be the beneficiary of a change of leadership and a return to a ministerial position.
Ms Ley resigned as health minister in early 2017 when admitting she had purchased a Gold Coast apartment during a visit to Queensland for official government business.
Ley also has an election fight on her hands from an unlikely source with the National Party confirming this week preselections had been opened in the seats of Farrer, Hunter, Richmond, Eden-Monaro, Whitlam and Patterson.
With the exception of Farrer the other seats are all presently held by Labor.
“I’m surprised their head office would endorse it,” he said.
“Obviously if it goes much further we will be talking our secretariat and seeing what has happened to the agreement.”
The NSW Nationals are declining to comment on the decision to open preselection in Farrer.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here