Kerryn Phelps says she is not entering Parliament as a wrecker of a minority Morrison government, telling the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night that a no-confidence motion or other moves to force the government to an early election are not on her agenda if there is action on climate change and asylum seekers.
Dr Phelps was asked by host Tony Jones if there was a “subtle threat” behind her comments that the government had to be given a chance to respond to the message from Wentworth voters on getting asylum seekers off Nauru.
The likely independent victor in the weekend by-election said: “I’d rather work by encouragement. I think the government will be encouraged to take action, as they have done today. With an election looming in May of next year, the government will be judged on its response to this. I don’t think it will take a motion of no-confidence to have them act on this. I think the writing is on the wall with this particular issue.”
When the question turned to action on climate change – identified in exit polls as a key issue for Wentworth voters – Dr Phelps said she was inclined to let parliaments run their full term.
“The first thing you have to do politically – again, I harp back to the fact we have a general federal election coming up in May of 2019 – and that’s not very far away,” she said.