Australia

Bridget Archer has not had a conversation with Peter Dutton ‘for a while’ and has no intentions of departing from the Liberal Party

Bridget Archer has refuted Peter Dutton’s claims that he had a private discussion with her following her vote against his push for an inquiry into Indigenous child sexual abuse.

The Liberal backbencher triggered an internal dispute when she crossed the floor to oppose the Coalition’s motion for a royal commission into child sexual abuse in Indigenous communities in October. She later accused Mr. Dutton of exploiting child abuse for political purposes.

Since entering Parliament in May 2019, Ms. Archer has voted against her party on 28 occasions.

Mr. Dutton, speaking to 2GB’s Ray Hadley, characterized her actions as a “mistake” and expressed his intention to hold “a private conversation” with the Bass MP.

“I have not engaged in a private conversation with Peter Dutton about any issue for a considerable period,” Ms. Archer stated in her response to ABC RN on Wednesday.

“He may have intended to discuss it with me. I can’t be certain. Nevertheless, I remain steadfast in the decision I made that day.”

Ms. Archer has diverged from her party’s stance on multiple issues, including endorsing certain aspects of Labor’s 2030 emissions reduction target, housing policies, and most recently, advocating for a “Yes” vote in the Voice referendum.

She reiterated her conviction in her decision to vote against her party’s position, believing it was the correct course of action.

“It’s important to note that I have consistently supported the Coalition on over 800 recorded votes. So, proportionally, I align with the Coalition 97 percent of the time,” Ms. Archer emphasized.

After her decision to oppose Mr. Dutton’s motion regarding child abuse, reports resurfaced regarding efforts by Ms. Archer’s more conservative colleagues to remove the outspoken moderate in preparation for the upcoming federal election.

In response to these reports, Ms. Archer expressed her disappointment but made it clear that she had no intentions of leaving the party in the near future. She emphasized that Australians expect their elected representatives to consider the purpose of their roles and the impact of their political decisions on their communities.

“I believe that my place is within the Liberal Party, and I originally joined the party because of its values,” she stated. “Political parties are built on democratic principles, and while we are elected to represent our parties, we are also democratically elected to serve our communities. I would never attempt to suggest that another member should leave or have an influence on their actions.”