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Monday, May 08, 2006

Peter Breen Joins The Team

Peter Breen, one of NSW Parliament's eight independents, has announced his decision to join the Australian Labor Party. Given the momentous nature of this news, delivering as it does another seat to the government and extending their margin even further without them having to lift a finger, it's getting almost no coverage (though it is jostling with an extraordinary number of big, network-friendly stories at the moment. Yes, we all know what those are). Breen, a former Young Liberal, originally entered parliament as a representative of the Reform the Legal System Party, and has named the Charter of Human Rights recently foreshadowed by Attorney General Bob Debus as a major catalyst behind his decision. However, he has also pledged to vote for amendments to the Majority Verdicts bill to seek exemptions for murder trials.

Are any of the remaining seven likely to follow suit? I'd judge it as pretty unlikely. But what would happen in the case of a hung parliament? There's been a lot of talk recently about this possibility following the next election - as this week's Stateline observed, the NSW Opposition are also taking the idea seriously enough for Peter Debnam to renege on an earlier pledge by deputy leader Andrew Stoner not to work with the State's independents in forming a government should the possibility arise. Frankly, should the possibility arise - and I'm still sceptical about it (though apparently the Head Office bean counters think otherwise) - I don't think the NSW Opposition would have that option. To look at the State's independents, the majority could be said to be more closely aligned to Labor than to Liberal. Richard Torbay, Peter Draper, Robert Oakeshott and Dawn Fardell would fall into this category. David Barr and Alex McTaggart I'm not so sure about - McTaggart, after all, was nearly wooed to join the Liberal Party during his now-notorious successful campaign for the blue ribbon Liberal seat of Pittwater; while Clover Moore's recent tussles with fellow councillors at the City of Sydney Council, which have seen her blame any allegations of her own mishandling of affairs on party political pettiness, mean that she's most unlikely to join or explicitly align herself with a party herself anytime soon.

6 Comments:

At 5:08 pm, Anonymous naomi said...

Well, that didn't last long.

He's already resigned.

 
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