Australia’s prime minister has said he “read the riot act” to three ministers after they went home early, meaning his government lost a string of votes.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s conservative coalition holds many of one seat in the parliament.
The opposition Labor Party came within a single vote of calling for a royal commission.
It is seen as undermining the government’s claim of having a “powerful working majority”.
MPs summoned back
Christian Porter Peter Dutton and Michael Keenan Keenan – were among the coalition MPs not in the Lower
House when Labor determined to pull a surprise test of the government’s power.
Their lack meant the opposition won three consecutive motions: first surprising parliament against adjourning at the customary time of 16:30.
Third and second votes effectively brought forward a fourth vote on a royal commission into Australian banks.
The opposition have been pushing for this after a series of allegations of misconduct in the banking sector.
In response, MPs turned back on return drives and were recalled from airports.
The authorities then recovered control to quash the proposal.
‘It was a farce’
Mr Turnbull said the move exposed a level of complacency among his coworkers, and that he’d “read the riot act” to the ministers.
“A variety of our members must not have left the building,” he told 3AW radio.
“They did the wrong thing, they understand they did the wrong thing.
“They’ve been caught out. They’ve been embarrassed. They have been humiliated. They’ve been excoriated and it will not happen again.”
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese told the Nine Network: “If you can not run the parliament, you can’t run the nation.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, now a backbench MP, said it’d be a learning experience for many people.
“All people are learning lessons all the time, whether you’re a journalist, a member of parliament, a whip or even a prime minister,” he said.