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Government MPs Banned From Travelling Home Without A Staff Member Babysitting Them

Kindergarten cops.

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Christopher Pyne has banned Coalition politicians from leaving Parliament to travel back to their electorate without a staff member present in a bid to avoid a repeat of last month's voting chaos.

Stefan Postles / Getty Images

A government source confirmed to BuzzFeed News that during a meeting of around 100 Liberal staff members, leader of the house Christopher Pyne issued a series of instructions to stop all lower house Coalition MPs from leaving work early without permission.

BuzzFeed News understands the crackdown extends to travel - all government MPs in the House of Representative are no longer allowed to leave Canberra at the end of a sitting week without one of their staff members travelling with them.

This babysitting directive from Pyne is intended to keep MPs under control and ensure they don't skip out on any votes.

It means politicians can't exit Canberra without a staffer by their side.

Staff have also been deployed to man the eight exits of Parliament House and dob in anyone who tries to wag.

Pyne and chief government whip Nola Marino, who are in charge of making sure politicians turn up for votes, have introduced the tough rules to ensure the government isn't left without a majority on the floor of the lower house.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

Last month, during the first week of the 45th Parliament, Labor briefly took control of the House of Representatives after the government lost three successive votes when MPs left without permission.

One government minister was on a flight to Melbourne, several were in cars leaving the capital and one backbencher had left the building to walk a school group from his electorate to the top of Canberra's Mount Ainslie.

The Turnbull government has also made changes to the rules to limit when votes can be called in order to to avoid Labor testing its one seat majority. On Mondays and Wednesdays the house will now adjourn at 8pm, instead of 9:30pm.

Rather than have MPs stay at work Pyne wants Reps to finish at 8 each night instead of 9:30 #auspol

The house previously adjourned on Monday and Tuesday at 9.30pm, it will now adjourn at 8pm.

The starting time of sitting days on Wednesday and Thursday has been pushed back to 9.30am from 9am.

Labor's saying that's a total loss of four hour of time the Parliament could be spent working per week.

Minister Pyne's office confirmed the changes, saying they aim to "better manage the work of the House of Representatives".

"We have also moved the dinner break on Monday and Tuesday from 6:30-8:00pm to 8:00-9:30pm which is a more sensible use of Members time."

"We have added hours for Private Members Business and Government Business to the Federation Chamber. After the changes the Chambers will sit an extra one and a half hours per week."

Pyne has also proposed a change which prevents an adjournment being voted on unless a minister moves for it.

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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