Anthony Albanese hints at expected crossbench move by ousted Labor senator Fatima Payman

Fatima Payman is poised to quit Labor and move to the crossbench within days after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hinted the WA senator has been plotting her exit for weeks.

Mr Albanese suspended the WA senator from the Labor caucus at the weekend amid the fallout from her crossing the floor to back a Greens motion on Palestinian statehood.

The indefinite suspension was confirmed at Tuesday’s caucus meeting, although Labor has left the door open for Senator Payman to return to the fold if she agrees to abide by its solidarity rules.

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But it emerged on Tuesday that the senator has had informal talks with Glenn Druery, the political adviser known as the “preference whisperer” for his role in getting micro-party and independent candidates elected.

Talks have reportedly been running for weeks – long before she broke ranks in the Senate.

Mr Albanese told Parliament on Wednesday that Senator Payman “has made a decision to place herself outside the Labor Party”, mirroring the wording of the caucus motion.

“That is a decision that she made. I expect further announcements in the coming days which will explain exactly what the strategy has been over now more than a month,” he said.

Any confirmation that the WA senator has been secretly plotting to jump ship will enrage Labor colleagues, particularly those who have tried to support her during a tumultuous fortnight in parliament.

Mr Druery has also been in talks with members of the Muslim community as momentum builds for a teal-style campaign mobilising Muslim voters against sitting Labor MPs.

A new group called The Muslim Vote is preparing to run candidates in three Sydney seats with large Muslim communities.

A separate group called Muslim Votes Matter is trying to rally Muslim voters across more than 30 electorates, including Burt, Cowan and Swan in WA.

It is not known if Senator Payman has spoken to those groups.

Greens leader Adam Bandt has said his party is not trying to woo the WA senator, meaning its most likely she will sit as an independent crossbench if she abandons Labor.

The West Australian has reported Senator Payman could be on the hook to repay campaign funds if she quits the Labor Party after all WA election candidates signed a pledge to abide by caucus solidarity and remain party members

Mr Albanese on Wednesday told Parliament that peace in the Middle East “won’t be achieved by resolutions in the Senate and stunts by the Greens, it won’t be achieved by those people who choose to desecrate war memorials”.

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