Hogan's defining moment
KEVIN Hogan was happy to be home on the Far North Coast after a nightmare week in parliament and admits he "will never look at Canberra in quite the same way again".
Having returned at midnight last Friday he said "falling into bed was heaven. It's always comforting to come home when you've been away and things like that are going on," he told the Lismore Echo.
And he slept easy.
"Once I'd had the idea to go to the crossbench, I knew I had to go ahead and make the announcement. I knew I would have been more unhappy if I hadn't. It was one of those moments in life when your values are tested and there's no other choice."
Something had shifted.
"I love this job here and I love getting back to the electorate.
"Canberra is important, it's a place where I do my job, lobby ministers and advocate for our community but there are some politicians there, who (after the last week) I will not ever look at in quite the same way again."
Mr Hogan accepts there were 40 Coalition ministers who stayed true, voted not to have a spill but the change of prime minister was the "straw that broke the camel's back".
He has given assurances, "for the sake of stability", he will support the government on votes relating to supply and confidence.
"But, given what has gone on, the straight facts are: I am in the Nationals camp, I will be sitting in the Nationals Party Room and will go to the weekly meetings we have in Canberra. I will not be going to Coalition Party Room meetings. I am making a statement of protest about the revolving door of prime ministers that has been going on for the past 10 years. I will sit on the crossbenches of the chamber and I will reserve my right to vote on bills on a case by case basis."
An early online poll by The Northern Star last week indicated that 84 per cent of people supported Mr Hogan moving to the crossbenches.
But his detractors, who include Labor's candidate for Page Patrick Deegan and the Greens' Daniel Reid, have labelled the move "pragmatic".
Mr Deegan said the constant turmoil of the Liberal-National Coalition over the past two years made them unfit to govern.
"I agree with Kevin Hogan on one thing - the behaviour of the Liberal and National parties over the past two years cannot be condoned."
Mr Deegan said the Page MP needed to think hard about what he stood for as a politician.
"He must resign from the National Party and sit as an independent."
Mr Hogan has responded to his critics (some within his own party) by saying: "Believe you me, this is no walk in the park. There is nothing expedient about this. There are certain people who are not happy about this decision and there has been push back from certain sectors".
"This is certainly not a good career move and it comes with some personal cost as well. This is solely about the ethics and principles of what was going on.
"Politics is a tough game and leaders get rolled from time to time. I am okay with that. But what I struggled with last week was this is the seventh prime minister since 2010. This is an epidemic and I cannot condone that."
Mr Hogan said while he was not even in his electorate when the challenge took place, he felt he was communicating the sentiments of the community.
"But I don't think it is just our community, I think it is the nation. I am one of 150 people sitting in that chamber representing 150 communities around the country and I just didn't feel anyone was echoing that as strongly as we needed to and that is why I took the measure I did."
Mr Hogan's other frustration is, he believed the government had been delivering on promises with more than 400,000 jobs created last year and "infrastructure spending in the region at levels never seen before".
"It is really disappointing when you see these distractions."
As for his own position, there won't be a change in his stance during this parliament and he couldn't say whether he would lose the deputy speaker position to which he was promoted to in March.
While he lost the chance to become a minister, which was a possibility when new PM Scott Morrison reshuffled the ministry, he remained "optimistic".
"You can never predict what will happen beyond the life of the current parliament. I hope Scott Morrison remains Prime Minister for a long time.
"He did not bring the challenge and there will be great will for him to heal the party," he said.
IN RESPONSE to rumours a notice of motion is on the agenda next month to eject Kevin Hogan from the National Party, the new Coalition deputy leader Michael McCormack said:
"Pre-selection matters are for local branches of the Nationals to determine as part of our democratic system and I won't be commenting on speculation.
"Mr Hogan remains a valuable member of the Nationals' team in parliament and will continue to make a strong contribution for his electorate and regional Australia as he done consistently since being elected in 2013 to represent Page.
"Kevin has certainly got things moving in Page - especially with the Pacific Highway investment - and brings a passion and understanding for the people of Page into our team.
"I want to continue working with Kevin to deliver for the North Coast well into the future."