Labor has launched a high court challenge to the right of a National party MP to sit in the parliament, which could remove the Coalition government’s one-seat majority. Labor’s national executive confirmed the decision on Friday morning to challenge the assistant health minister and National MP for Lyne, David Gillespie, over a potential commercial interest with the commonwealth. If the case were successful, a byelection would be triggered in the safe National party seat on the New South Wales mid-north coast. If the Coalition candidate lost, the Turnbull government would lose its one-seat majority. Gillespie won the seat after the former independent Rob Oakeshott retired at the 2013 election. Oakeshott ran at the 2016 election in the nearby safe National seat of Cowper but failed to unseat MP Luke Hartsuyker after a three-week campaign.
The high court case has been launched by the 2016 Labor candidate for Lyne, Peter Alley.
“Today I have commenced proceedings in the high court of Australia to determine whether David Gillespie’s election as member for Lyne in 2016 was unconstitutional,” Alley said.
“This is not a step that has been taken lightly. It has been taken after considering expert legal advice from senior counsel about the constitutionality of Dr Gillespie’s election in 2016.