With the success of what has been called the medivac bill to bring the refugees from Manus and Nauru detention centres on medical grounds (i.e. every person is eligible, according to doctors and human rights groups), fresh calls have arisen to call for an early election, or for a vote of no confidence. With only 7 more sitting days in Parliament (what do we pay these people for anyways?) however, it probably will not happen.
The bill passed 74/75 in the affirmative. Labor backflipped only days ago, considering whether to make amendments to the bill that would essentially render it useless in comparison. But, with pressure from the Greens (who have been campaigning for years to have the refugees brought here) and the crossbench (Kerryn Phelps was one of the people to introduce this new bill) they shifted back, offering a few small amendments and allowing it to pass. Anyone who considers themselves a decent human being would be overjoyed, and it comes as no surprise that the LNP have already started running a smear campaign against Labor, spreading falsehoods about a weakened border and the resurgence of people smuggling. The boats never stopped, our government just refused them entry and held them in detention ever since.
But aside from this, Cash’s court appearance confirming one of her staff leaked the planned AFP raid on the Unions in 2017, the Royal Commission into banking giving damning results at the same time political donations are disclosed, Tim Wilson assessing potentially fake and self-made inquiry submissions about franking credits, etc. etc. etc. The Coalition aren’t doing all that bad, surely? If someone can still argue against all the corruption and ethical concerns of this government, then the fact that this is the first time since 1941, and the time before that in 1928, that a government has lost a vote on its own legislation (the 1941 date was given by the House in response to the media quickly grabbing onto the 1928 date).
While much of the media seems confident in no confidence, it depends on how much sway this issue has within the House. The government may have lost the vote but that doesn’t mean the crossbench or parts of Labor have no confidence overall – if the government had made this an issue of confidence then we most certainly would be sending them out the door. More realistically, with only 7 sitting days, unless such a vote is put forward soon we may still be waiting until May for the election. It could go either way.
As it stands, Labor would certainly win a snap election, but if we wait until May, the Coalition’s scare campaigns on immigration and the ‘retiree tax’, and the release of the Budget (which will undoubtedly be filled with loads of PR crap) might boost their standing a bit. On a two-party preferred poll, the Guardian puts it as 45/55 in Labor’s favour, but a lot can happen in 3 months.
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