Rebel Nationals MP George Christensen will step down as the party’s chief whip, freeing him up to carry through on threats to cross the floor in parliament and vote against the government.
He has previously threatened to resign from the LNP and when South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi split from the party earlier this month to form his own conservative party, Christensen was expected to join him, but in recent weeks said he remains loyal to Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.
The Queensland member for Dawson is facing a strong challenge from One Nation, with Newspoll placing the third term MP neck and neck in the polls with Pauline Hanson’s party.
While appointing Christensen the party’s chief disciplinarian was mean to impose some restraint on the the outspoken critic of Muslims, immigration, same-sex marriage and climate change, he continued to be a wild card in the party.
Most recently he threatened to side with Labor on a banking royal commission, and leaving the whip’s post will give him the freedom to act on his threats without official sanction from the party.
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