When Labor was in minority government and asked the opposition to provide “pairs” (that is, ask a member to abstain from voting if a government member were absent), this is how Christopher Pyne responded on September 8, 2011:

“Of course it could be the exceptional circumstance, but we’ll determine that at the time. I mean this obsession with the Fairfax media with pairing arrangements in the national Parliament is enough to make your eyes glaze over. Simple fact of the matter is that people apply for pairs when they need them. We’re not trying to respond to every possible hypothetical, the next thing I’ll be asked is if people will be given pairs if they get hit by a semi-trailer outside of Parliament House. When there is a circumstance that requires a pair, we will assess each one at the time. But the point remains utterly crystal clear that the government can define when the carbon tax votes are held, and therefore they should hold them when their members are available.”

And now that Tony Burke says Labor will not necessarily be granting pairs? Christopher Pyne, August 16, 2016:

“In the situation where a member of parliament is ill or in hospital or has a family emergency, pairs have always been granted. Labor is either acting out of a breathtaking ignorance or a malicious and mendacious approach to the Parliament.”

Peter Fray

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