Is Hogan serious on ‘big’ shift?
A FEDERAL ALP Senator has questioned the honesty of Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan's decision to move to the cross benches in protest against the change of prime minister in August.
In Senate estimates on Monday, Senator Jenny McAllister grilled the government's leader in the senate, Mathias Cormann, about Mr Hogan's move to the cross benches.
Sen Cormann said Mr Hogan continued to support the government, but reserved his right as every LNP backbencher, to consider individual pieces of legislation on their merit
"When Mr Hogan said he was moving to the cross bench he wasn't telling the truth?" Sen McAllister asked Sen Cormann.
"I don't understand the question," Sen Cormann said.
"I don't think it is logically possible to be a government member and be on the cross bench," Sen McAllister said.
Sen Cormann: "You're verballing me. I said he continues to support the government over confidence and supply. I didn't say he was a member of the government.
"But I also pointed to his track record so far since he's made that decision and I also pointed out that Mr Hogan, like every backbench member on our side of parliament has the right to make judgments on individual pieces of legislation. A right you don't have."
"So he's just like any other government backbencher?" Sen McAllister said.
"I'm comparing his capacity to and his wish to make judgments on individual pieces of legislation with the opportunity of every backbench member of parliament in the Liberal National Party, of which of course he has not chosen to be part." Sen Cormann said.
Mr Hogan said his decision had always been about the optics of the move rather than a change of his politics.
"I am a Nationals member who has decided to sit on the cross bench," he said.
"It's not even something new. (WA National) Tony Crook sat on the cross bench when he was in the House of Representatives."
Mr Hogan said his decision to move to the cross bench in August was more a physical demonstration of distancing himself from his colleagues during the leadership challenges to Malcolm Turnbull.
"The fact of where I was sitting certainly had an impact," Mr Hogan said.
"People in the party didn't like the look, even if I wasn't going to threaten supply or confidence."
When he made his cross bench move, Mr Hogan said he would not vote against the government on supply or confidence.
"Ever since I got here, Labor have wanted me to vote against the government," he said.
"That's not going to happen.
"There's been very little contentious legislation up till now."