Clive Palmer may have spent roughly $100m to install his man in the Senate but that doesn’t mean he’s always going to show up.
Ralph Babet, who also goes by the name Deej Babet, traded his real estate business in Melbourne’s southeast for a spot in the upper house after being elected last May.
So it was curious when the first-term senator was spotted during question time in the public gallery of the House of Representatives.
The sighting was made all the more curious as it meant the senator was skipping out on his own question time that was taking place just down the hall.
Seated in the back row of the public gallery, the senator watched on as the government was grilled about the impact of the cost of living crisis and its signature climate policy.
After being contacted by the NCA NewsWire, the United Australia Party’s sole representative in parliament promptly packed up.
Just moments later, the Victorian senator took his place in the upper house.
“Yeah, popped in to see what Minister Bowen had to say,” Senator Babet told the NCA NewsWire, referring to Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen.
“I think he’s going to destroy Australia … if the government is hellbent on shutting down coal and gas in our nation, then the only way that we can maintain our standard of living, keeping our homes warm and manufacturing on shore is nuclear energy.”
Last year, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese slashed the number of crossbench staff from eight to five in a bid to cut down on costs.
Senator Babet blamed that for the reason he was not able to do his job properly.
“We have to be very selective on what we spend our time on. The Australian people are unfortunately not benefiting from the experience and unique views of the crossbench,” he said.
Mr Babet also hit back at suggestions he had a poor attendance record – which sits at around 48 per cent – for votes in the Senate
“You should check division records of other senators,” he added.
“Some are genuine divisions, some are not. I attend every important division.”