NATIONAL POLITICAL UPHEAVAL:
The formation of a breakaway political party in Canberra overnight has stripped the Morrison government of its parliamentary majority and makes a federal poll “highly likely in the short term”.
The Rooters, Foot-Shooters, Frack Farmers, Fissures and Coal-Huggers Party was officially launched on the forecourt of Parliament House late last night by party leader, former deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce (above, accompanied by one of his sons).
He was flanked by other MPs who have quit the Nationals to join the new and potentially powerful bloc: former Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie and former Resources Minister Matt Canavan, both without footwear and both with feet heavily bandaged, a block of Canavan’s fellow Queensland MPs including the Member for Manila, George Christensen and the Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien, and NSW MP David Gillespie.
The RFSFFF&CH Party is understood to have some nine former Nationals among its members, easily stripping Scott Morrison’s government of its majority. And late last night, rumours circulated on Capital Hill that some disgruntled Liberal MPs outside of Queensland might also defect to the fledgling party.
While the new party has not declared whether it will give the Morrison government confidence on the floor of Parliament, Australia’s respected political commentariat and Peter Van Onselen were of one voice in predicting the government would be forced to the polls within a year of their March 18 victory last year.
“A fresh poll is highly likely in the short term,” they were asked to say so we could put it in the intro above.
Flushed, apparently with the success of putting together his new political force, Mr Joyce told the media he and his colleagues “are prepared to frack for Australia”.
“And every electorate in Australia will be getting a new coal-fired powerhouse, not just in targeted marginal electorates based on some colour-coded spreadsheet.
“And while we couldn’t fit the words into our party title, we are determined to “maintain and improve all of our existing national perks (sic)”.
“They will be opened up, both for recreational use and for the first time will all undergo proper and coordinated hazard reduction burning and the Greens can simply bugger off.
“No national perk (sic) will be left unexploited,” Mr Joyce said, before asking the media where the nearest public bar was and offering to buy them all some drinks there.
“We’re going to have sufficient numbers to qualify for party status so as leader I’ll be getting a hefty pay rise, one I desperately need,” Mr Joyce explained. “Drink whatever you want, guys. My shout.”
The Bug understands the party is keen to be known on the floor of Parliament as the “beetroot group”, paying homage to the “ginger group” that opposed Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the early 1980s.