A Deputy Premier’s political career hangs in the balance after a historic vote, following allegations of misleading parliament.
The political career of South Australian Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman hangs in the balance following a historic vote of no confidence.
The unprecedented vote came after a scathing report recommended Ms Chapman be found guilty of wilfully misleading parliament.
The allegations are hinged on her statements regarding a decision to block the development of a timber port on the island where she grew up and owns property.
Ms Chapman is the first minister in South Australia’s history to receive a vote of no confidence in the lower house.
Under parliamentary convention, a minister who has a motion of no confidence passed against them is expected to resign.
However, Premier Steven Marshall told parliament he maintained “100 per cent” confidence in Ms Chapman and would not sack her.
Opposition MP Andrea Michaels tabled the damning report into Ms Chapman’s decision to reject the $40m timber port in Kangaroo Island on Thursday.
Ms Michaels described the then-planning minister’s refusal to admit her conflicts of interest as “Trumpesque at best”.
“Blatant denialism of objective evidence and plain truth does the lawyer general no favour,” she told parliament.
Ms Chapman grew up on Kangaroo Island and her family is well known for its long-held connection to the area.
She had inherited family property on the island, which was located nearby to a timber plantation.
If the New Port had been approved, Ms Chapman’s would have likely experienced an increase in traffic from trucks around her property.
Despite holding a personal stake in the issue, Ms Chapman decided she did not have a conflict of interest in the project and decided the port should not be built on the island.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall defended his deputy throughout the ordeal, describing the inquiry into Ms Chapman as a “kangaroo court”.
But on Thursday, former Liberal MPs Sam Duluk and Troy Bell sided with fellow crossbenchers and the Labor Party to pass the vote of no confidence in Ms Chapman 23 votes to 22.
The original motion from SA Labor called upon Mr Marshall to sack Ms Chapman immediately.
However, the motion was later stripped of that requirement to gain the support of the crossbench.
The amended no-confidence motion now calls upon the Speaker of the House to present the SA Governor with a copy of the vote, expressing that the parliament wills Ms Chapman to be removed from her role as both Deputy Premier and as a Minister.
The outcome presents a political headache for Mr Marshall and his Liberal government ahead of a state election in March.