MP's quitting the Liberals leaves Australian government's grip on power in jeopardy

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-27 15:13:03|Editor: xuxin
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CANBERRA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government's grip on power is in jeopardy after outspoken Member of Parliament (MP) Julia Banks announced she is quitting the party.

Julia Banks, the MP for Chisholm in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, made the announcement that she was defecting to the crossbench on Tuesday, citing the "reactionary right-wing" of the Liberal Party and the downfall of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as key reasons.

The decision has left the governing Liberal National Party Coalition (LNP) with only 74 out of 150 seats in the lower house of the Australian Parliament, the House of Representatives.

"The Liberal Party has changed largely due to the actions of the reactionary and aggressive right-wing who talk to themselves rather than listening to the people," Julia told parliament on Tuesday.

"To continue to put the people before the party and act in the nation's interest authentically and constructively, effective immediately, I will serve as a member of this House of Representatives as an independent representative," Julia said.

Despite abandoning the party, Julia said she would support the governing coalition if the Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) tried to force an early election by bringing a motion of no-confidence against the government.

If the ALP was able to secure the support of all seven independent MPs, including Julia Banks, it would have a clear majority of 76 votes, that enough to pass a no-confidence motion and dissolve parliament.

Julia' announcement came only minutes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who succeeded Malcolm Turnbull as PM, announced that he will deliver the Federal Budget in April 2019, giving his strongest indication that an election will be held in May.

Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg, Australia's Treasurer and the most senior LNP member in Victoria, on Tuesday confirmed that the budget have been brought forward from May to April and Australia would head to the polls shortly afterwards.

"The budget will be handed down on April 2 next year. There'll be a Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) in the normal course of events before the end of this year," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"We will be handing down a budget. It will be a budget which is the product of the years of hard work of our government, of successive fresh and prime ministers, that has ensured there we have stayed on track to deliver a balanced budget, a surplus budget which is what we promised the Australian people we would do," Morrison said.

A general election must be held before the end of May 2019 on account of expiring terms of Members of Parliament (MPs).

According to recent opinion polls, the Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP)is set to win power at the upcoming election.

However, presenting a budget surplus in the lead-up to the election could swing some voters in favour of Morrison's Liberal National Party (LNP) and at least mitigate the scale of the projected defeat.

Morrison served as Australia's Treasurer under former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull until he was deposed by the LNP in August, with Morrison installed as the governing party's new leader.