David Leyonhjelm to use ‘blackmail if necessary’

David Leyonhjelm to use ‘blackmail if necessary’

November 12, 2014

INCOMING crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm says he is willing to “blackmail” the government with his vote, naming tenure for a Sydney shooting range among his top objectives.

The NSW Liberal Democratic Party senator-elect, whose six-year term begins on Tuesday, said he would largely vote on the principles of low taxation and individual freedom.

However, on less germane ­policy issues, such as the reintroduction of temporary protection visas, he would seek to trade his vote to achieve other objectives.

Mr Leyonhjelm also intends to introduce a private member’s bill restoring the rights of territory governments to legislate for euthanasia, which he termed ­“assisted suicide”, and would insist that all MPs be allowed a conscience vote.

“I will use persuasion, argument, speech and, if necessary, blackmail,” Mr Leyonhjelm yesterday told The Australian.

“When they want my vote, I’m entitled to ask ‘What can I get for it?’”

Mr Leyonhjelm said he was also willing to trade his vote on procedural motions, such as whether to launch parliamentary inquiries opposed by the government, and would seek five-year sunset clauses on legislation passed through the new Senate.

Mr Leyonhjelm has prepared a list of concessions he would seek from the government on those ­occasions, including “secure tenure” for the commonwealth-owned rifle range at Malabar in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, probably in the form of a 100-year lease.

The Gillard government in 2012 announced plans to transform the historic facility into a 177ha national park, but the NSW Supreme Court blocked the plan from going ahead until an alternative site could be found elsewhere in the city.

The government will need the support of at least six of the eight crossbench senators to pass ­legislation in the new Senate if Labor or the Greens refuse their support. Mr Leyonhjelm will be joined on the crossbench by one independent and representatives of the Palmer United Party, Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, Democratic Labour Party and Family First.