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Lennox MP blames poor communication for voting misstep

Catherine Cusack
Catherine Cusack Jacklyn Wagner

AN EMOTIONAL Catherine Cusack has rejected claims she deliberately broke from her Liberal Party colleagues by supporting a call for NSW Treasurer Mike Baird to defend his $1billion budget blunder before a parliamentary committee.

The distressed Lennox Head-based Liberal MLC explained it was only after she had seconded a motion, tabled by a Labor member, for Mr Baird to be brought back before the budget estimates committee, that she learned her colleagues did not support it.

She said she believed they were "on the same page" in thinking shutting down all other hearings and leading with one was the best way to set the record straight and minimise negative publicity for the State Government.

When a motion along those lines was put forward during a committee meeting this week, Ms Cusack believed it was in her party's interest to support it.

But in an embarrassing turn of events, her colleagues Melinda Pavey and Matthew Mason-Cox voted against the treasury recall.

A nod from Fred Nile sealed the deal, leaving those in Labor party ranks cheering at Ms Cusack's expense.

Last night she described the headlines suggesting she had broken ranks and purposely voted with the other side as "deeply upsetting".

"There is no doubt that this looks messy for the government - I was left stranded," Ms Cusack said

We didn't have a strategy before we went in and as a result we ended up on record, voting differently.

"At the end of the day it's a good result for the government, we accomplished what we set out to do - shut down other supplementary hearings."

While she recognised poor communication within her own party was to blame for the mishap, Ms Cusack said the way in which the information was leaked to the media was "very disappointing".

"It was absolutely premeditated and deliberate," she said

"It has no political advantage for the Labor Party or NSW politics - it's just nasty."

Topics:  catherine cusack liberal party mike baird nsw parliament


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