New South Wales Premier Chris Minns has vowed not to “work with” One Nation’s Mark Latham, condemning him for trying to “import Trump-style politics”.
- Premier Chris Minns accuses Mark Latham of trying to import US-style, Trump-style politics
- Mr Minns says One Nation’s parliamentary representation is likely to go backwards
- He also says the re-election of Kiama MP Gareth Ward will be referred to the privileges committee
Mr Latham has been publicly reprimanded by his party leader, Senator Pauline Hanson, after posting a graphic and homophobic reply on Twitter to independent MP Alex Greenwich.
The ABC has chosen not to publish the now-deleted tweet, and Mr Latham has since gone on to post more tweets appearing to target the LGBT community.
On Sunday, Mr Minns said he would not work with Mr Latham in parliament.
“This is unambiguously bad commentary,” he said.
“Even though [Mr Latham] seems to be trying to import US-style, Trump-style politics into New South Wales, he’s nowhere near as successful as the Republicans or Donald Trump are.
“In fact, One Nation is likely to go backwards in terms of parliamentary representation in terms of this election compared to the last one.”
Mr Minns said he would not support Mr Latham if he requested to chair a committee or special assignment inside of the Legislative Council.
“We’re not going to work with him … I’m not sure who is going to lead the Liberal Party in the next few months, but I’d call on their organisation to make a similar commitment.
“I think his comments in relation to Alex Greenwich make [working with Mr Latham] impossible.”
Mr Latham’s initial graphic comment was in response to a news article, which quoted Mr Greenwich describing the One Nation NSW leader as a “disgusting human” and “extremely hateful and dangerous”.
The independent Member for Sydney told the ABC on Sunday he was shocked that Mr Latham was “doubling down and justifying his homophobic attack”.
“It’s going to be important for me to consider what my options are here, to also work with the parliament to see what options are available to really call this out,” Mr Greenwich said.
“I really welcome that the new premier, Chris Minns, has said his government will not be working with Mr Latham, and indicated it would not support him holding any committee chairships.”
Mr Greenwich is also calling on the Coalition to join forces with the new government.
“And send a strong statement, when members of parliament make homophobic remarks, that that actually is going to limit their participation in the policy-making process.”
On Saturday, government frontbencher Penny Sharpe joined those calling for Mr Latham to apologise, describing his behaviour as “unacceptable”.
She said the Labor government could not do anything to reprimand Mr Latham until the Legislative Council count was finalised on April 20.
So far, One Nation has received 218,744 votes — or 5.7 per cent of Legislative Council votes — which would see Mr Latham be re-elected to the upper house.
However, the party will not get a second seat as it had hoped.
Mr Greenwich on Saturday said he did not expect an apology from Mr Latham, but he hoped he sought “the help he needs”.
Kiama vote a ‘surprise’
Mr Minns also faces some tough decisions in the lower house on the issue of re-elected independent MP Gareth Ward.
The Member for Kiama was suspended a year ago, after being charged with sexually assaulting a 27-year-old man, and indecently assaulting a 17-year-old boy.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and is due to face a hearing at Sydney’s Downing Centre Court on Monday.
Prior to the election, Mr Minns had committed to a fresh suspension.
Today, he acknowledged his “surprise by that political result” in Kiama, but appeared to back down from his initial plan of action.
“We’re in a position now where we are going to refer his election to the privileges committee, which is what the previous government did in relation to his compensation in the lead up the last election,” he said.
“That’s a due process position that I think is appropriate in the circumstances. The privileges committee would be set up once the parliament is reconvened in the coming weeks.”
Mr Ward has been arguing his win should be respected, saying that living in a democracy means that party leaders don’t get to tell communities who can represent them.
“Most importantly, the voters always get it right, they get to decide the people they elect to parliament,” he said in an ABC interview last week.
“And, I think, it would be extraordinary for any party or group of people who think they have the numbers on the floor of the house to expel or suspend a member who has been duly elected.”
Mr Minns said the committee would be looking at exactly the concerns raised by Mr Ward.
“They’ll obviously take into consideration whether Mr Ward has brought the parliament into disrepute, what the potential ramifications or appeal would be for him if a suspension did go ahead, and take into consideration the judgement of the people of Kiama.”