Billionaire federal MP Clive Palmer could call in sick for his first week of parliament after coming down with a cold.
The eccentric mining magnate failed to front for a scheduled interview with Network Ten’s Meet The Press on Sunday morning.
When contacted by AAP for the reason behind his no-show, an ill-sounding Mr Palmer advised he had a cold.
Mr Palmer said he couldn’t guarantee he would be in Canberra for his first day of federal parliament on Tuesday, saying he would see a doctor in the meantime.
Asked if he intended to attend every day of parliament over the coming weeks, Mr Palmer replied: “I’ll meet my requirements”.
Late last month Mr Palmer won the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax after a recount with a final margin of 53 votes, almost eight weeks after the federal election.
The parliament will be formally opened by Governor-General Quentin Bryce on Tuesday before the political battle kicks off in earnest on Wednesday morning.
Mr Abbott will be flanked by 89 coalition colleagues, having reduced Labor to 55 members at the September 7 election.
Newly elected MPs, billionaire Clive Palmer (Fairfax) and Victorian farmer Cathy McGowan (Indi), will be joined on the crossbench by Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt (Melbourne), Bob Katter (Kennedy) and Andrew Wilkie (Denison).
But the crossbenchers will have less time to conduct private member’s business in the new parliament with the coalition planning to turn back the clock on changes to standing orders made by the previous Labor government.
The government will propose veteran NSW MP Bronwyn Bishop for speaker and Nationals MP Bruce Scott for deputy speaker. Labor’s Rob Mitchell is set to take up the second deputy speaker role.
Both the Labor caucus and coalition will meet in Canberra on Monday evening to discuss tactics and the legislative agenda.
The opening will start with a 9am (AEDT) indigenous welcome to country in the parliament forecourt before Ms Bryce outlines the government’s agenda in the Senate chamber at 3pm (AEDT).
This will pave the way for the carbon tax repeal bills to be introduced first thing on Wednesday.