Tim Smith on the parliamentary pairings controversy
Victorian Liberals have dealt with a lot of bad press this week, after the state’s Acting Premier accused the party of “betraying” Victorians with the parliamentary pairing controversy.
Reports emerged that in a cunning “ tactical trick,” Liberal MPs Bernie Finn and Craig Ondarchie reneged on pairing arrangements to vote down the fire services bill on Good Friday.
It was suggested that the duo opportunistically agreed to the pairing, citing the need to celebrate Easter as a justification for their absence. Reports indicate that they then accepted pairs with Labor MPs Jaala Pulford and Philip Dalidakis, waited for them to go on holiday and calculatedly exploited their absence to vote the bill down.
But according to Victorian Shadow Education Minister Tim Smith, the whole story is not being told.
“Why was Labor trying to force this really controversial bill through the Parliament on Good Friday? Because one conservative independent upper house MP was away ill. Though she went to St Vincent’s Hospital and tweeted that her position on the bill hadn’t changed, the government refused to give her a pair.”
“This meant the numbers were 20-19 (in Labor’s favour). So they took their opportunity to ram it through. They preyed on the absence of a sick woman to try and have things their way.”
Listen to Tim Smith tell the Liberal version of events.
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