The end of the 2018 parliamentary sitting was “a mess” of game-playing according to Cathy McGowan and she does not believe the situation will get any better next year.
As the Coalition filibustered in the Senate to prevent a vote on the treatment of sick refugees on Manus Island and Nauru, Labor returned fire by wasting an hour in the House of Representatives by attempting to suspend standing orders.
Indi MP Ms McGowan and the other crossbenchers abstained from the vote as a protest against the attempt to “create havoc in the House of Reps”.
“I do it because I don’t think my community doesn’t like the parties playing political games in Parliament,” she said.
“The whole day was just a mess.”
The votes of Ms McGowan and other independents will be important to the minority government when Parliament resumes next year.
She predicted the major parties would be even more adversarial ahead of an expected May election.
“I don’t think the problem is the crossbench, I think the problem is the real bitterness between the Labor Party and the Coalition,” Ms McGowan said.
“When you haven’t got the numbers, I think you have to be much more conciliatory and this government is not being conciliatory – it’s being adversarial.”
She said it was disappointing the government did not pass the bill to help transport sick refugees to Australia for medical help, and she encouraged them to take up New Zealand’s offer to to accept 150 refugees from Nauru and Manus Island.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed medical transfer changes would turn Nauru and Manus into "a transit lounge", and would feature in people smugglers' "brochures" by the afternoon.
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