Government cancels sitting week for House of Representatives

Monday, 20 November 2017, 07:16:31 AM. The Federal Government cancels a week of Parliament in the midst of a citizenship scandal.

House of Representatives Photo: The House of Representatives will not return until December 4. (ABC News: Timothy Stevens)

The Federal Government has cancelled a week of Parliament in the midst of a citizenship crisis and a backbench push for a royal commission into the banks.

But the leader of the Government in the House of Representatives, Christopher Pyne, said Parliament would continue to sit until same-sex marriage is legislated.

The new schedule will push back the Prime Minister's December 1 deadline for all politicians to disclose their citizenship status in Parliament.

The House of Representatives will return on December 4, which leaves only two days for politicians to be referred to the High Court if their citizenship is in doubt.

The cancellation also puts the brakes on Government backbenchers who are threatening to cross the floor and establish a banking commission.

Nationals MP George Christensen wrote to the Prime Minister on the weekend saying he was willing to cause "political damage" on banking and support bids to roll back penalty rate cuts.

A private member's bill on banks or penalty rates has a chance of succeeding in the House of Representatives, given Barnaby Joyce and John Alexander have resigned to contest by-elections.

The new date for MPs to return to the House is two days after the New England by-election for Mr Joyce's seat.

Mr Pyne said the changing schedule would not affect the vote on same-sex marriage.

"Members should be prepared for the House to sit for some or all of the second week beginning December 11 or as long as it takes to legislate for marriage equality and resolve all citizenship issues," Mr Pyne said.

"We will move the resolution on the new citizenship disclosure regime in the House on December 4, setting a deadline of 8pm on December 5 for disclosures to be lodged by members.

"We look forward to Labor's support for that resolution the text of which has been agreed with the Opposition and already adopted in the Senate."

More to come.

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