Anti-mandate bill unsuccessful despite senators crossing floor

By Jackson Graham

Tuesday November 23, 2021

Pauline Hanson
One Nation’s Pauline Hanson. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

A One Nation private members’ bill aimed at stopping state-based vaccine mandates has been rejected in the senate, amid Coalition MPs crossing the floor to support it. 

As federal parliament resumed for a final fortnight for 2021, Liberal senators Gerard Rennick and Alex Antic said they planned to withhold their votes on legislation unless the government takes stronger action on vaccine mandates. 

They were joined by Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Matt Canavan and Sam McMahon in supporting a private members’ bill from One Nation’s Pauline Hanson, aimed at overruling vaccination mandates. 

The government opposed the bill, which wasn’t successful. 

Prime minister Scott Morrison said the government didn’t agree with the bill. 

“The Liberal Party, in the National Party, we don’t run it as an autocracy. We don’t kick people out of our party if they happen, from time to time, to disagree on issues on which they feel strongly,” Morrison said. 

The government’s senate leader, Simon Birmingham, acknowledged on Monday that MPs had the right to cross the floor without being expelled from the party but warned that right should be “used sparingly”. 

The move came as the government faces seven remaining days this year to pass divisive legislation, including its religious discrimination bill, its federal integrity commission, and voter identification laws. 

Birmingham declined to go into more detail about what was on the government’s agenda for the next fortnight, saying the attorney-general would address the religious freedom and ICAC legislation in the coming fortnight.


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