Geoff Helisma |
Some say A week in politics is akin to an eternity; some have piled hyperbole on top of hyperbole, reducing the comparable time span to one day – the federal leadership machinations that played out last week underlined the predictably unpredictable nature of Australia federal politics.
For Kevin Hogan, the Member for Page, it was all too much.
Last Wednesday August 22, following the previous day’s leadership spill, Mr Hogan released a statement saying that he “cannot condone … this constant rotation of prime ministers by both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party”.
“If there is another leadership spill for the position of Prime Minister prior to the next federal election, I will remove myself from the government benches and sit on the cross benches,” he said.
Come Friday, a second spill was called and Australia soon had a new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
“I have made this decision because my community is fed up,” Mr Hogan said in his statement.
“…This is not about Peter Dutton, Malcolm Turnbull or Kevin Hogan; it is about the Office of Prime Minister.
“I remain 100 per cent committed to delivering for my community.
“I remain committed to the National Party.
“If this occurs, I will still attend National Party meetings if invited.
“I will not attend Coalition Party Room meetings.
“I will support the Government in No Confidence Motions and Supply.
“Any other legislation I will take on a case by case basis.”
Speaking with the Independent on Monday morning August 27, Mr Hogan had not changed his mind.
“For the remainder of the parliament I will sit on the crossbench,” he said.
Mr Hogan confirmed that he was the only person to contest the Page pre selection process for next year’s election and that he was “hopeful [members] will vote me through”.
Mr Hogan said National Party members he met with at a meeting held at Brushgrove over the weekend had “wholly supported” his stance.
While he rated himself as a “moving target” of sorts, Mr Hogan said that during his election campaign, “I will be a candidate who is sitting on the crossbenches but still going to Nationals party meetings”.
When it comes to the next election what will you tell voters; will you be telling them, ‘We’ll start from scratch and see how it goes’?
“There are so many ifs and buts in that [question]: I will be sitting on the crossbench until at least the next election – post next election there are some questions that will be revisited, but [I’ll be on the crossbench] at least until then.
Meanwhile, Labor’s Page candidate, Patrick Deegan, issued a media release challenging “the National Party to reveal if they were looking for a new candidate following the so-called ‘defection’ of Kevin Hogan MP”.
“Kevin Hogan is adamant that he has quit the Liberal-National Coalition in disgust, and is now sitting on the cross-bench,” Mr Deegan said.
“As he’s no longer a member of the Liberal-National Coalition, he clearly cannot run as a Coalition candidate.
“It would be the height of hypocrisy for Mr Hogan to campaign for the re-election of a government that he does not support.
“Equally, how could the National Party pre-select a candidate who openly says he does not want to be part of their team?
“Unless, of course, the whole defection thing is just a cheap political stunt.”