Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she is prepared to call an early election after government MP Rob Pyne quit her Labor party.
The outspoken Cairns MP announced his resignation on Monday night following months of complaints about the party system, particularly over the government’s controversial lockout legislation.
His move to the crossbench means the Labor minority government and LNP opposition now both have 42 seats each in the state’s 89-seat parliament.
“I will not allow anyone to stand in my way,” Ms Palaszczuk said when asked whether she’ll call an early election.
The premier was asked to clarify her comments and when asked whether it meant she would call an early election if anyone stood in her way, she replied: “Absolutely.”
Ms Palaszczuk said that didn’t necessarily mean blocking legislation in parliament, but around her government’s jobs agenda and driving innovation.
She said Mr Pyne didn’t advise her of his intention to resign.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with Rob’s decision,” she said.
“I’m quite sure there’s going to be a lot of members in the Cairns community that are also disappointed with his decision to leave the Labor party.”
Ms Palaszczuk said she was pleased Mr Pyne still expressed confidence in her government.
“I’ll be making a call to his office today to speak with him about this decision,” she said.
The premier said her government would remain committed to creating jobs, particularly during the mining downturn, and Mr Pyne’s resignation wouldn’t change that.
“We will continue to govern in the best interest of all Queenslanders,” she said.
Mr Pyne’s resignation comes after disgraced MP Billy Gordon was last year pushed out of the Labor party and on to the crossbenches, meaning the Labor minority government now has two fewer MP than it did when it took office.
However, it is still clinging to power with the support of Mr Pyne, Mr Gordon and Independent Speaker Peter Wellington.
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg has promised not to call a no-confidence motion in the government.