Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she is not ruling out an early election in the wake of Rob Pyne quitting the Labor Party.
The disgruntled far north Queensland MP said he had been “muzzled” from speaking out about issues facing his electorate.
He is the second Labor MP to quit the minority Palaszczuk Government, leaving Labor and the LNP with 42 seats each.
Independent far north Queensland MP Billy Gordon quit Labor in March 2015.
Queensland Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said on Monday night the LNP would not try to force an election with a no-confidence motion in Parliament.
Ms Palaszczuk said she would “absolutely” call an early election if someone stood in her way.
“I am making it clear to Queenslanders – I am here for them,” she said.
“I am here to govern in the best interests for them and I won’t let anyone stand in my way.
“I am not going to allow any person to stand in my way and my Government’s way of creating jobs for Queenslanders – that is my message.”
Labor Party members will be ‘disappointed’
She said Mr Pyne had let the party down.
“I’m disappointed with Rob’s decision and I’m quite sure there’s going to be a lot of members in the Cairns community that are also disappointed with his decision to leave the Labor Party.
“I’m very keen to speak to Rob today, so I’ll be making a call to his office today to speak with him.”
Mr Pyne said he was sick of games in Parliament.
“I see the argy bargy going back and forward, whether it’s [Deputy Premier] Jackie Trad or [Opposition MP] Jarrod Bleijie – I come back to Cairns and I have a good bath in Dettol,” he said.
Mr Pyne said he did not believe his move to the crossbench would make Queensland’s Parliament less stable.
“[There are] equal number of seats in the Parliament, but the Katter Party and the two crossbenchers expressing confidence in the Premier and the Treasurer, so it’s really been overblown a bit in terms of any issues of instability,” he said.
“I would not anticipate this having a drastic impact on the Government’s legislative agenda.”
He said he would not support a no-confidence motion in the Queensland Government and noted other crossbenchers had made a similar commitment.
Mr Pyne, a first-time MP who quit Labor’s left faction earlier this year, said he felt overpowered in his north Queensland seat by the party machinery out of Brisbane.
He said he has now quit Labor so he can speak out for his constituents.
Mr Pyne said he felt the issues facing his electorate had not been acknowledged.
“I certainly don’t feel that within the straitjacket of the party structure that I’m able to provide the sort of advocacy for my electorate that I’d like to provide,” he said.
Pyne deserted Labor in ‘act of treason’
Labor MP for the far north Queensland seat of Barron River, Craig Crawford, said he was disgusted with Mr Pyne.
He said Mr Pyne had deserted Labor in an act of treason that proved he was a megalomaniac.
“We campaigned in the north up there as quite a strong team and for Rob to come out and do this pretty much unprovoked, it really, really, really is a huge disappointment to me,” he said.
Mr Gordon said while he supported Mr Pyne’s decision to quit Labor, he would still back Ms Palaszczuk.
“I think Annastacia Palaszczuk is the best person to lead Queensland,” he said.
“She’s shown that she has the leadership and the tenacity to get through this process
“Rob’s indicated that he still has confidence in the Government and will support as well.”