09 Apr 2018 Herald Sun, Melbourne (General News) by Lachlan Cartwright EXCLUSIVE MP WHO MISSED CFA VOTE TURNS UP IN WASHINGTON DC A CROSSBENCH state MP too ill to be in parliament to vote on a controversial law turned up as a guest at an overseas conference days later. Australian Conservatives MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins missed a controversial Good Friday vote in the Legislative Council on the Andrews Governments restructure of Victorias fire services a Bill to which she had declared her opposition. But days later, she boarded a plane to Washington DC to speak at a global summit of the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation, being held in a swanky Virginia hotel. Her appearance at the summit, where she was feted like a VIP, offered champagne and asked to give a speech, is expected to intensify criticism from MPs over why she could not be in parliament or ask for a delay of a vote on the restructure. The Fire Services Reform Bill would dismantle the Country Fire Authority and move all career firefighters to a new Fire Rescue Victoria. Approached by the Herald Sun and asked about her illness, Dr CarlingJenkins said: Im not talking about that. Ive released a comment. Yesterday, her office did not answer questions on whether taxpayers would pick up the bill for her trip. One senior MP said: I think most people would consider if you are too sick for parliament, too sick to arrange a pair, and too sick to explain yourself, you should be too sick to drink wine and party on a taxpayer-funded junket around the world. CONTINUED PAGE 2 Absent ill MP jetted off to US FROM PAGE 1 Shortly after approaching Dr Carling-Jenkins, the Herald Sun was ejected from the summit by event security. Her absence had appeared to give the government the numbers to pass its Bill, leading to speculation she had done a deal to stay away. But the Bill was defeated. Two Coalition MPs who said they wanted to be absent to observe Good Friday asked Labor counterparts for a pair, whereby those MPs would abstain to maintain the ordinary voting balance. But in a doublecross, the Liberals returned to the chamber moments before the vote to defeat the legislation. Dr Carling-Jenkinss office had said she was too sick to even ask the government for a pair. It said she had been admitted to hospital after a collapse on Tuesday, March 27, three days before the vote. She had left parliament earlier that day, her office telling the Herald Sun she had an important meeting. Next day she tweeted shed collapsed: Late yesterday afternoon I was admitted to St Vincents Hospital. I have been discharged but will undergo further tests today. My position on the Fire Services legislation remains unchanged. Her office then tweeted that she was having further treatment and would not be in parliament that week. It is understood that she provided the president of the Legislative Council with medical certificates. Government Whip Jaclyn Symes said that Dr Jenkins had told her that week she did not want a pair if absent. Caption Text: Rachel Carling-Jenkins Rachel Carling-Jenkins at the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit. Pictures: AL DRAGOLicensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.