Daryl Maguire could be the first MP expelled from New South Wales Parliament in more than 100 years, as Acting Premier John Barilaro issued his harshest words yet.
Mr Maguire should quit parliament because Wagga Wagga no longer wants him, Mr Barilaro told 2GB radio on Wednesday.
“He should take that advice and go,” he said.
“I’m confident that we’ll have this result before we get back to parliament.”
But if he won’t resign, Mr Barilo would not rule out supporting a Labor motion to force his expulsion from parliament.
Acting Opposition Leader Michael Daley earlier announced Labor would move a a motion under standing order 254 if Mr Maguire does not resign by the time parliament resumes on August 7.
“If he won’t go, we’ll have to make him go,” Mr Daley told reporters.
The standing order allows the expulsion of a member “adjudged by the House guilty of conduct unworthy of Parliament”, and has not been successfully used since 1917.
It would spark a byelection in Wagga Wagga if passed.
Mr Maguire stood down from the Liberal Party and as parliamentary secretary after being disgraced at an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hearing, but has refused to vacate his seat.
Will it get through?
The National Party may abstain if it reaches a vote, reports suggest. If so, that would be enough for Labor to pass the standing order if support from minor parties and independents pulls through.
The Greens signalled its three lower house MPs would vote with Labor if Mr Maguire won’t step down.
“The Greens would support any action that enforces the ethical standards politicians should be bound to and holds them to account,” MP for Newtown Jenny Leong said.
“Clearly there is only one viable option remaining and if the member doesn’t take this up before parliament resumes then it is clear that the parliament will need to take action.”
Independent Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper was hesitant to confirm his vote.
“But the reality is my inclination at this point is to say, ‘Yes, I would be [voting for it]’. But it’s always dangerous to just jump in fully clothed, so to speak,” Mr Piper told The New Daily.
“I do believe that Daryl Maguire’s position is untenable.”
Mr Piper said the Wagga Wagga MP had partially fallen on his sword.
Maybe you’ve got to complete the job, fall fully on your sword.”
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said he would likely support the Labor motion, pending its final wording.
He said Mr Maguire had acknowledged wrongdoing in stepping down from the party and as parliamentary secretary.
“The same should go for parliament,” Mr Greenwich told The New Daily.
A Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party (SFF) MP spokesperson said Orange MP Philip Donato would also support the motion.
“We hope it doesn’t come to that and Mr Maguire listens to the visceral anger in the community and voluntarily resigns instead.”
Nationals play for Wagga Wagga
Mr Barilaro wouldn’t rule out the Nationals running a candidate in a Wagga Wagga byelection.
But he insisted he’d not yet spoken to anyone about preselection.
It comes amid chatter the Nationals hope to take the regional seat from its Liberal partner.
“The rules say we get to negotiate the position of the coalition about who would be best placed to run a candidate,” Mr Barilaro said.
“That will be for consideration of head office, the executive – we’ll make those decisions if and when they arise.”
If Mr Maguire holds on, he will earn another eight months worth of his $166,066 MPs base salary until the March election.
On Monday, he said he would not resign early to spare taxpayers the “unreasonable” burden of funding a byelection.
Mr Daley said it would be “money well spent”.
It comes after ICAC heard a recording of a 2016 conversation with then-Canterbury councillor Michael Hawatt, in which Mr Maguire tried to arrange a “dividend” for organising a multi-million-dollar property sale to a Chinese developer.