The Liberals are finally waking up to the fact that it would only take one Labor member to cross the floor on the Carbon tax vote to defeat it. Abbott has urged opponents of the tax to target local MPs on the issue:
Mr. Abbott today addressed the Liberal state conference in Tasmania - where none of the five House of Representatives seats are held by the party - telling the crowd to vent their rage on local Labor MPs.He would be wasting his time on Wilkie, who while nominally independent is in reality a Green. Labor members may be susceptible to this tactic on the basis of wanting to hold their seats. Tasmania is a bit strange, but there are distinct possibilities in other states. In Queensland, which has thirty federal seats, it is estimated that on current polling, only Rudd would have sufficient margin to hold on.
"The good people of Tasmania could persuade (independent) Andrew Wilkie that this is not in the interests of Tasmania," he said.
"But don't stop there. Dick Adams, Sid Sidebottom, the other Labor members of this state, they too are balance of power Members of Parliament, and if they decide that it is not in the interests of their constituents to have a carbon tax, there won't be a carbon tax.
"So, ladies and gentlemen, please appeal to them as Tasmanians - stop making excuses for a bad government in Canberra and start standing up for the interests of the people of Tasmania.”
While Labor rules mean that any member who crosses the floor is automatically expelled from the party, some members must be surely tempted. In Qld there are eight Labor members who will lose their seats over the issue and are therefore vulnerable. One of these is the Treasurer, Wayne Swan who has to stay with the sinking ship, but seven could choose self-preservation.
Senator Barnaby Joyce has been pushing this line for some time. He has pointed out to Labor members that it is survivable as he has crossed the floor on numerous occasions and is still there. He says, “people are not going to talk to you for a couple of years, but you'll get over that.” He has also mentioned that with all of those meals you get to eat on your own you get plenty of time for reflection.
This tactic could appeal to Labor members in mining seats who by crossing the floor may end up as heroes in their electorates and survive as independents.