Chat with Clive leaves Flynn MP voting with the ALP
FEDERAL Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd was caught on the wrong side of the house on Thursday and ended up voting with the Opposition during a chat with Clive Palmer.
Coalition member Mr O'Dowd was sitting and talking with Mr Palmer across the floor when it was time to vote on an amendment regarding the Asset Recycling Fund Bill.
Mr O'Dowd was deep in conversation when a division was called, and continued the conversation until government members called to him across the chamber.
The MP got up and started walking back to the government side of the house, but was told by the acting speaker, "You can't move".
Mr O'Dowd returned to sit next to Mr Palmer while ALP members applauded.
He then continued his conversation while his vote was counted for the Opposition.
The bill related to the $5b asset recycling fund announced by Treasurer Joe Hockey in the lead-up to the federal budget, which would pay states a 15% bonus if they sold old assets and reinvested the proceeds of the sale in new infrastructure.
Gladstone's port, which is in Mr O'Dowd's electorate, is in the crosshairs as the Queensland Government eyes off potential targets for asset sales or leases.
The bill was read for the second time on Thursday, with Greens MP Adam Bandt moving that the bill be withdrawn and redrafted so it was named the Encouraging Privatisation Bill.
Mr Bandt said this would "better reflect that the bill aimed to encourage state governments to sell off public assets as quickly as possible, in part to make up for the shortfall in Commonwealth funding to state governments arising out of the 2014 Federal Budget".
Mr O'Dowd was on the right side of the house for the vote on Mr Bandt's and two other amendments, which were knocked back 83-55.
However, when a number of Opposition amendments relating to the bill were again voted on, Mr O'Dowd was on the wrong side of the house and voted with the Opposition in supporting the amendments.
The Coalition still won the vote, knocking back the amendments 81-55.
Mr O'Dowd said he had been discussing electorate issues of mutual concern to Mr Palmer and himself.