Clive Palmer sitting behind independent MP Andrew Wilkie during question time last month.
Labor stood by its “longstanding principles” along with the Greens and refused to block the first of the supply bills in both the House of Representatives and the Senate last week.
Only Andrew Wilkie and Clive Palmer voted against these bills in the House of Representatives. There were no votes against the bills in the Senate.
Greens leader Christine Milne told the Senate: “The Greens are here as very strong and reliable people in this parliament … We are going to vote down every one of their cruel budget measures that come through this place, but we are not going to cause a constitutional crisis.”
Wilkie told an anti-budget rally in Hobart on June 25 that he had voted against the bills to “force the government back to the drawing board to prepare a fair budget.
“No government has any right, no right at all, to wage an ideological crusade against people on low incomes and other disadvantaged members of the community … That’s why I voted against the budget.”
Below is a statement Wilkie released on June 23.
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, along with Clive Palmer, were the only members of the House of Representatives to vote against key Appropriation Bills No 1 and No 2 (Supply) when they came before parliament tonight.
“I had hoped that Labor and the Greens would do the same, rather than just waive the Appropriation Bills through,” Wilkie said.
“This budget is such a miserable piece of work that the convention of not opposing the Appropriation Bills should have been dispensed with. If my parliamentary colleagues, in particular in the Senate, listen to the people of Australia we could force the government back to the drawing board to prepare a fair budget.
“Remember Appropriation Bills No 1 and No 2 contain, among other things, the weakening of the indexation of government pensions, the cut to the ABC and SBS, and the axing of funding for legal aid services including the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania.
“There wouldn’t be a constitutional crisis and everyone would keep being paid if supply is blocked because pension payments are covered by Standing Appropriations, and Clive and I did not move to block the other Appropriation Bills.
“If the Senate blocks the key Appropriation Bills the government could give itself time to remedy the budget. Interim budgets were implemented in 1984, 1987 and 1996. And even if an election was triggered then so what?
“Labor and the Greens have been huffing and puffing against the budget but when it came to the crunch and an opportunity to put words into actions, they sided with the government.
“Australia is a rich and fortunate country. There is simply no good reason for the government to wage an ideological crusade against the poorest and most disadvantaged members of the community, and in particular against students, the unemployed, the poor, the sick and disabled, the aged and single parents.”