Saw your article yesterday on the (now rare) defeat
of the government in the Senate, when Barnaby Joyce crossed the floor on the
trade practices legislation. You called it for me – but it was the

Here’s the sequence of events:

  • Murray circulates the motion/amendment that is the
    means to achieve this outcome in March. Result – it’s “live” in the Senate but
  • Democrats, Greens, Labor, Family First all shored up
    to support that amendment
  • One more vote needed to get the necessary tied
  • BJ is expected to abstain. Monday I discover he
    might vote with the non-government parties
  • In his second reading speech he confirms this
    (Coalition didn’t hear/react? Didn’t seem to.)
  • Conroy sees the chance, as do Murray and Milne;
    Conroy/Murray/Milne get cracking on rounding up the numbers via the Party
    whips. Fielding supportive.
  • Once they are secured Conroy collapses the Labor
    speaking list
  • Coalition caught napping. Fail to pick up on the
    changed tone and process in the Chamber. Sounds of zzzz from the
  • Discipline and floor strategy holds. Rapid-fire
    process conducted. BJ votes. Victory. May prove to be phyrric in the end, but
  • My motion, but a team effort.

Senator Andrew

Spokesperson for
Accountability, Electoral Matters,
Taxation, Finance & Corporate Affairs and Workplace Relations

CRIKEY: There you have it, the blueprint for rolling
the government in the Senate. Check out yesterday’s attempts to explain the
sequence of events by The Age‘s Michelle Grattan and the Herald’sMike Seccombe.

Peter Fray

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