Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer has maintained the "full support and admiration" of Tasmanian federal Liberal members after she spoke out against the cashless welfare card, and has now decided to abstain from the vote.
Ms Archer made the speech to Parliament on Wednesday in which she raised a range of concerns regarding the card and signalled her intention to prevent any further expansions, including into her seat of Bass.
She was the first Liberal Party member to voice her opposition to the cashless welfare card on principle, but stopped short of crossing the floor to prevent it being expanded to the East Kimberley, Ceduna, Goldfields and Bundaberg, and the entirety of the Northern Territory and Cape York.
Her views on various social matters - including her opposition to reducing JobSeeker to pre-COVID levels, and urging reform to the unemployment system - are widely known within the party including via discussions with Social Services Minister Anne Ruston.
Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz said the party had a variety of views, and members were entitled to speak their mind.
"I've crossed the floor in the past and have expressed views contrary to the Government on issues as diverse as: opposing an extradition treaty with China; opposing retrospectivity in superannuation policy and calling out the administration of the Centrelink robo-debt program," he said.
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"I've always sought to do so respectfully as Ms Archer has done. Ms Archer continues to enjoy my full support and admiration as she does from the rest of the Tasmanian Federal Liberal Team."
Senator Abetz said he personally supports the CDC as a form of "tough love" to "honour the hardworking taxpayers of Australia who make the welfare payments available".
Braddon Liberal MHR Gavin Pearce said he would support the legislation, but did not respond to questions regarding whether he had concerns about the actions of Ms Archer.
"There are no proposals in this legislation to extend the use of the CDC to any new participants or communities at all - and Tasmania, including the electorate of Braddon, is not impacted in any way by this legislative amendment," he said.
"As such, I will be voting for the bill that is before parliament."
Tasmanian Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam said it was "important that members of parliament represent the views of their community", but did not respond to a question regarding whether he would support any rollout of the CDC to Tasmania.
Labor puts pressure on other Liberals
Labor has attempted to pressure other Tasmanian Liberals to declare whether they would also oppose rolling the CDC out to their electorates.
Ms Archer's speech included comment that pensioners in her electorate were anxious about the card.
Tasmanian Labor senator Anne Urquhart said that Mr Pearce should have the same concern for his constituents.
"There can be no doubt that, if Mr Pearce was doing his job, he would have heard the same level of distress and concern from voters in North-West Tasmania," she said.
Tasmanian Labor members were also critical of Ms Archer for voicing her opposition to the card but also choosing to vote for it.
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