Albo in fiery clash over rogue senator

The Prime Minister has an issue on his hands with senator Fatima Payman’s defiance. Picture: NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

The Prime Minister and ABC presenter Sarah Ferguson have had a fiery clash over the Labor senator who voted against the party last week and defied caucus rules.

WA senator Fatima Payman crossed the floor of parliament, voting against Labor last week on a Green’s motion to recognise Palestine.

The tit-for-tat has been deafening in political circles; The Prime Minister banned Ms Payman from caucus meetings while she has said colleagues were trying to “intimidate” her to quit the Senate.

Senator Fatima Payman says she crossed the floor as a matter of conscience. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman

On Tuesday media reported Ms Payman had been meeting with a minor party political expert, leading some to conclude she may leave Labor.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met ABC 7.30 presenter Sarah Ferguson on Tuesday, and the pair had a terse exchange concerning the Senator.

The Prime Minister is displeased with the senator’s actions. Picture: NewsWire / Luis Enrique Ascui

“That is a decision for her,” Mr Albanese said when asked if the Senator would be in the party by the end of the week.

There are also murky links between that political expert and a grassroots Muslim Vote movement, which will reportedly eye federal Labor seats riding a wave of dissatisfaction over the government’s stance on Gaza and on the question of Palestinian recognition

The Prime Minister said Ms Payman working with such a group was not a betrayal.

Fatima Payman represents Western Australia in the senate. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“She has made a decision that she can’t be bound by what puts our team together,” Mr Albanese said

“I would like to see her rejoin the team and that option is certainly available to her.

“I don’t take these issues personally … I’ve seen people at various times make decisions to change the direction upon which they were elected. Fatima was, of course, elected as a Labor Senator.”

Ms Ferguson asked: “But as we sit here, it’s acceptable for you, for someone to be talking to your opponents?”

The scrutiny and conjecture about the senator’s next steps has been immense. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“Well, clearly, it’s not acceptable, which is why Senator Payman has been suspended from participation in the caucus,” the Prime Minister said.

For her part, Ms Payman has said she will continue to vote to recognise Palestinian statehood.

The federal parliamentary Labor Party position on the offending motion was that it did not recognise Israel, therefore it did not have Labor support.