Almost a year into the life of the 44th Parliament, influential MP Clive Palmer has emerged as the member least likely to use his vote in the House of Representatives.
A full parliamentary record of crossbench votes reveals Mr Palmer attended only 19 of 202 “divisions” or counted votes since entering Parliament, by far the lowest turnout of any of the 149 members on the floor.
On the 19 occasions he has voted, 13 related to axing the carbon and mining taxes or associated votes on procedure.
Internal rules enforced by the whips in the major parties make attendance compulsory for most divisions, but the five crossbenchers in the House determine their own voting patterns.
Victorian independent newcomer Cathy McGowan has the highest voting record of 181.
The Greens’ Adam Bandt has voted 178 times, and independent Andrew Wilkie 175.
Bob Katter has attended only 57 divisions, but is still well ahead of Mr Palmer.
The Palmer United Party founder has made no secret of the fact he prefers to negotiate the implementation of policies in the Senate, where PUP members hold crucial balance of power votes.
After winning the seat of Fairfax at the 2013 election, Mr Palmer indicated that he viewed parliamentary duties as only part of his job.
“I’m prepared to put in the hard yards representing the people of Fairfax, not just in Parliament but wherever I am,” he said.
When in Canberra, he is open about his lunching and meeting arrangements, which often occur outside Parliament House.
A spokesman for Mr Palmer said the MP had attended Parliament on 70 per cent of sitting days, missing “one week because of the birth of his daughter”.
The spokesman also noted that as a party leader, Mr Palmer had also “spent time campaigning in Tasmania and in Western Australia” for the re-run of the Senate election.