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Govt has majority, when everyone turns up

AAP logoAAP 2/09/2016

Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne insists the government has a majority, but only when everyone turns up.

That didn't happen on Thursday, with the government losing three votes in quick succession because some MPs and ministers had gone home early.

It was embarrassing for the government and also for the absentees, Mr Pyne admitted.

"We are a majority government, but we are only a majority government when everyone turns up," he said on the Sky News program he co-hosts with Labor MP Richard Marles.

Such was the shock Mr Pyne is "pretty confident" it won't ever happen again.

The weekly Pyne-Marles Show is generally marked by jolly banter on political issues of the day.

Mr Marles queried whether the coalition had acquired special new whips with little hooks to apply more pain to those recalcitrant ministers who departed early.

"Stuff-up" had become the motto of the Turnbull government , just two months in office, he said.

Mr Pyne retorted that Labor had tried an old trick by calling a rare vote on the adjournment debate.

"It does happen. The government didn't fall. It didn't create one job or put one meal on a table, just a political stunt from Labor," he said.

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