There have been shambolic scenes on the floor of Parliament after one MP crossed the floor and Covid rules were abandoned.
Parliament has erupted in a state of chaos as a hoard of confused politicians bucked Covid-19 rules and paraded across the chamber floor.
Speaker of the House Andrew Wallace capped off a messy first week in his new role with a spectacular mincing of words that sent MPs into a frenzy of confusion.
Liberal MP Bridget Archer asked the politicians to cast a vote on whether to suspend standing orders so that the house could debate a proposed federal Integrity Commission bill from independent MP Helen Haines.
Mr Wallace incorrectly declared the vote had passed, despite the fact that an absolute majority had not voted in favour – as is needed to pass a proposal to suspend standing orders.
“A lot of us are confused,” called out Katter‘s Australian Party leader Bob Katter.
After a tense back-end-forth debate over how to fix the Speaker’s mistake, the house agreed to fluke longstanding Covid health restrictions and walk across the floor of the chamber to vote again on the question.
Before the pandemic, politicians would walk to either side of the Speaker’s chair to show whether they were voting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a question.
This was suspended after the outbreak of Covid-19 to prevent the spread of the virus throughout Parliament House.
But as MPs discarded the restrictions on Thursday, the house chamber bustled and roared once again as the gaggle of confused politicians walked across the green carpet.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese appeared to take great delight in the chaos, sitting smuggling in the Prime Ministers chair as his colleagues giggled and cheered.
“You look good in it,” one Labor MP said.
The chaotic scene comes as internal affairs in the Coalition party appear increasingly disorderly.
Ms Archer broke ranks from the Liberals by trying to get the house to debate Dr Haines’ federal integrity commission bill, snubbing Scott Morrison’s vocal opposition to the Indiependent MPs own version of ICAC.
The Liberals have spruiked their own version of ICAC, but the proposal has been marred by three years of delays and has been criticised by many for being “toothless” and “weak”.
Ms Archer has indicated that if Dr Haines’ bill makes it to a vote, she will cross the floor of parliament and snub her own party to vote in favour of it.