Stuart Robert, a former Morrison government minister and Federal MP, has officially resigned from parliament. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Milton Dick, confirmed that he had received Robert’s resignation letter on Thursday. The Speaker is now considering possible dates for the byelection for the electoral division of Fadden, Queensland, and will make an announcement in due course. Robert announced his intention to leave federal parliament earlier this month, fuelling speculation that former prime minister Scott Morrison will also soon bow out of politics and create the possibility for two byelections on the same day.
Possible Double Byelection
Many Liberals are anticipating Morrison will retire from his south Sydney seat of Cook in the coming sitting fortnight, which could set up a double byelection Saturday in early July. Both Fadden and Cook are considered safe Liberal seats, with margins of more than 10 per cent, making it unlikely there will be a repeat of the humiliating defeat suffered by the Liberals in the Victorian seat of Aston in April after Alan Tudge retired. But the byelections will serve as a test of broader support within the communities for the performance of the Liberals under Peter Dutton’s leadership, with a big swing away from the opposition potentially damaging to Dutton.
The Queensland MP, who is Peter Dutton’s shadow assistant treasurer, did not attend parliament last week despite it being budget week. However, his staff came to Canberra to pack up his Parliament House office. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese yesterday blasted Robert for his failure to attend parliament when he had not formally resigned before touring a space technology company in the Fadden electorate. “If you’re a member of parliament, your basic duty – unless there’s a good reason why you’re not in parliament, with other duties or ill health – you have to turn up,” Albanese said on Wednesday.
The resignation of Stuart Robert has set up a potential double byelection, which will serve as a test of broader support within the communities for the performance of the Liberals under Peter Dutton’s leadership. The byelections will also provide an opportunity for voters to express their opinions on the current state of politics in Australia.