News National Labor won’t pair votes in new parliament

Labor won’t pair votes in new parliament

Tony burke
Labor's Tony Burke has asked the Audit Office to investigate. Photo: AAP Photo: ABC
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The federal government has slammed Labor for rejecting a request to “pair” votes in the new parliament.

In a move which could strike another blow to the government’s narrow one-seat majority, the opposition says it won’t enter into an arrangement to pair votes because of the Coalition’s confidence it enjoys a working majority.

Under the arrangement, a Labor MP would abstain from voting if a Coalition member is unable to due to political commitments or illness.

Manager of opposition business Tony Burke says Labor was taking Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at his word that the government had a working majority.

The opposition was only following the usual conventions for each party granting leave to its own MPs.

“People have asked Malcolm Turnbull if the new parliament is like the hung parliament and he has said it isn’t,” Mr Burke told AAP in a statement.

“If Malcolm Turnbull believes for some reason the government is less stable than he has claimed, he should say so publicly.”

Leader of the House Christopher Pyne accused Labor of double standards, saying the opposition enjoyed pairing for sick MPs in the Gillard minority government.