Tony Abbott's refusal to accept the "tainted vote" of former Labor MP Craig Thomson could allow Julia Gillard's contentious media Bill to sneak through Parliament.
In a bizarre turn of events, Mr Thomson said yesterday he would vote against Labor's package of media reforms, saying he did not believe the changes would do enough to protect privacy.
But just when it looked like Mr Thomson had effectively killed off the contentious changes, the Opposition declared it would not take his vote and would pair a coalition MP to annul Mr Thomson's vote against the Government legislation.
With numbers in the Lower House finely balanced, the coalition's decision could allow the changes to pass by just one vote.
Mr Thomson left the Labor caucus last year after coming under investigation by police for the alleged misuse of union money on prostitutes and high living.
Mr Abbott has repeatedly refused to accept Mr Thomson's vote and last year attempted to sprint from Parliament when he realised the former Labor MP had sided with the coalition on a Bill.
The Government's media reforms look to create the office of a supremo to apply a public interest test to media mergers and certify independent organisations such as the Australian Press Council and the Independent Media Council.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is furiously lobbying the Greens and independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor in the hope of getting the Bills through Parliament by the end of next week.
Yesterday, dumped Speaker and former Liberal Peter Slipper confirmed he would likely back the changes.
He took a swipe at Rupert Murdoch's flagship tabloid the Daily Telegraph, which on Wednesday compared Senator Conroy with Communist dictator Joseph Stalin.
"If anyone need convincing of the importance of the reforms, a quick glance at yesterday's Daily Telegraph coverage should dispel any uncertainty," Mr Slipper said.
Mr Oakeshott has indicated he is unhappy with the Bill and could vote against it. Mr Windsor is yet to indicate his position.
Complicating matters, the Senate has voted to put off reporting on the Bill until mid June - a headache for Senator Conroy, who has demanded the laws pass Parliament by the end of next week or not at all.
On Wednesday, Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes voiced his opposition to the laws and indicated he would be willing to give up tens of millions of dollars in licence fee cuts packaged with the media Bill should the changes be thrown out.
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