Phelps Wants Dutton Section 44 Briefing After Finally Winning Wentworth
The new federal MP will seek an urgent briefing on Peter Dutton's potential section 44 eligibility issue.
Kerryn Phelps was officially announced as the new Member for Wentworth on Monday, two weeks after the by-election in the blue ribbon Sydney seat.
She insists she has no plans on being a "wrecker" when she joins the crossbench in parliament, but said she will carefully consider whether to refer two members of the government to the High Court over section 44 issues.
Home affairs minister Dutton has been under fire for his business links to childcare centres which receive government payments. Fellow Liberal MP Chris Crewther was also last week revealed to have invested in shares in a company that has received government funding.
In the days before the by-election, Phelps told 10 daily she would need to see a detailed brief of the evidence in Dutton's case before she made up her mind. Speaking to ABC Radio National on Monday, she affirmed that.
“I would have to get a comprehensive briefing on those two cases and will make a decision based on that briefing,” she said.
“I will be seeking that as soon as I possibly can."
The last time that issue came to a vote, it ended up 69-68 in Dutton's favour.
But with Malcolm Turnbull no longer in parliament, a repeat of the vote could conceivably sit at a tie, meaning Phelps' vote on that issue could be crucial.
"With anything as important as a referral to the High Court, it’s really important you have a full brief of evidence," she told 10 daily last month.
Also in the RN interview, Phelps spoke of her desire to reach an outcome regarding refugee children on Nauru, and despite her election win being a clear rebuke of the Liberal Party, said she had no desire to sabotage the government.
Phelps is likely to join the parliament during the next sitting week later this month.
At last count, Dr Phelps was 1851 votes ahead of Liberal candidate Dave Sharma on a two-party preferred basis.
The result will push the coalition into minority government in the lower house and give the six-seat crossbench a great deal of power.
Phelps said she was yet to meet with Scott Morrison but was hopeful of a conversation with the prime minister once her position is formalised.