A state government has been accused of a stunning act of cowardice as political chaos grows for the embattled party.
The South Australian government has failed to stop parliament sitting until after the next state election following a historic vote of no confidence was passed against the Deputy Premier.
Findings from a scathing report into Vickie Chapman’s decision to block the development of a timber port on Kangaroo Island led to the unprecedented vote in the lower house, demanding her resignation.
Amid the chaos, the Liberals attempted to move a motion having parliament shut down for the remainder of the term — beyond the date of the next state election in March — on Thursday evening.
The failed attempted was dubbed “a stunning act of political cowardice” by Labor, who voted alongside crossbenchers to have parliament resume on November 30.
Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said Premier Steven Marshall had lost control after trying to shut down parliament until after the election in March.
“This is a stunning act of political cowardice by the Marshall Liberal Government,” he said.
“How bad has it become that Steven Marshall decided his best course of action was to shut down parliament for more than five months?”
Mr Mullighan told parliament Ms Chapman was “tainted” and had a “proven reputation for misleading this house”.
A parliamentary inquiry found Ms Chapman guilty of wilfully misleading parliament and having a conflict of interest when she decided to block the development on the island where she grew up and inherited property near a timber plantation.
If the port was approved, the traffic and number of trucks around her property would have likely increased.
It was also recommended that she apologise and be suspended from parliament for nine days.
Ms Chapman, who is also the Attorney-General and Planning and Local Government Minister, has long insisted that she did not have a conflict of interest.
A spokeswoman again confirmed on Friday morning the MP would not resign.
On Thursday, Labor as well as crossbenchers Sam Duluk, Troy Bell, Frances Bedford and Geoff Brock passed the vote of no confidence in Ms Chapman, 23 votes to 22.
Former Liberal turned independent MP Fraser Ellis abstained from the vote.
Mr Marshall continually stood by his deputy in the lead up to the vote, telling parliament he had “100 per cent” confidence in her and would not sack her.
SA Governor Frances Adamson will on Friday be asked to sack Ms Chapman, with Speaker Dan Cregan due to present a copy of the motion at about noon.
However, the Attorney-General could avoid demotion as Ms Adamson acts on the advice of the Premier.
“I speak to the Governor on a very regular basis and I’m certainly not providing any advice on Vickie Chapman,” Mr Marshall said on Friday morning.
The Premier accused Labor of playing “political games” but denied accusations his own party did the same after it tried to scrap the parliamentary sittings.