Flynn MP has respectable voting attendance record

Voting attendance report card.
Voting attendance report card.

FIGURES show Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd has a 99% voting attendance record and always votes with the government, except for one time he accidentally crossed the floor.

It was a rare error, a rebel vote that is unlikely to happen again.

While talking to Clive Palmer last year in the House of Representatives in Canberra, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd accidentally crossed the floor on a key vote.

Mr O'Dowd is one of the majority in the Coalition, and despite the accidental rebel vote marring his record, he has a respectable 99% voting attendance record, and has voted the party line for every other vote.

His voting record on the online political database also shows the vote in June last year, caught up in a "more important conversation" with Mr Palmer, was the only time he crossed the floor, albeit accidentally, since he was first elected in 2010.

But Mr O'Dowd said his support for the government on three budget bills, all of which are stuck in the Senate, was not just toeing the party line, but due to genuine concern about the need to rectify the federal budget.

The online database shows Mr O'Dowd voted for increasing the cost of subsidised medicines by $5, up from $36.90 to $41.90; cutting the rate of aged pension increases, and for selling state government assets to fund new infrastructure.

Despite some 3957 full or part-time pensioners in Gladstone alone, according to University of Adelaide data, Mr O'Dowd said the effective cut to pension increases was justified, as they would continue to increase.

"What does Australia do if we're spending beyond our means? Pensioners will still get an increase twice a year, but in this case we're not taking it away, we're just giving less," he said.

Mr O'Dowd said he also still supported increasing the cost of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme-listed medicines, and that the high expense of new medicines listed under the multi-billion-dollar scheme meant "we can only distribute what we can for the taxpayer".

"I don't think there's a wide understanding of how much these drugs actually cost the taxpayer. You'd always like to give more, but there is a balancing act in these decisions," he said.

But Mr O'Dowd also hit out at  the previous Labor government and the Howard government, for spending funds earned through the mining boom on "middle-class welfare", rather than infrastructure projects.

"I can't see how the nation will get ahead without the asset recycling.

"I think it's been done by both governments, and we need something to get the big projects moving again," he said.

But as Treasurer Joe Hockey looks to remedy a worsening economic outlook, Mr O'Dowd is more likely to push his concerns within the Coalition, rather than crossing the floor.

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