Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is not afraid of members of his government crossing the floor of parliament.
Over the past sitting week, seven coalition MPs and senators have voted against the government on a variety of issues from an anti-corruption commission to vaccine mandates.
Labor has accused the government of being wracked with chaos and losing control of parliament ahead of an election due by May.
With both chambers due to sit for the final time this year from Monday, Mr Morrison said the votes did not worry him.
“I don’t lead a team of drones and warm bodies that I just move around in the parliament,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Adelaide on Friday.
“From time to time, when members might have a strong view on things, I let my party breathe – I don’t seek to bind it up.”
He said having members who strongly advocated for their communities was healthy for the government.
“I am big enough to deal with that. My party is big enough to deal with that,” he said.
One of those who crossed the floor, Queensland LNP MP Georgie Christensen, will be back in the spotlight on Monday with a private bill seeking to free Australian journalist Julian Assange.
Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said it had been a “chaotic” week of parliament and the government had shown it was focused on itself rather than issues of importance.
“We’ve seen real wages in Australia actually go backwards over the last year … while petrol prices have gone up by $900, while childcare prices have gone up by $390, groceries are going up,” she told 4BC radio.
“Really they’re the sort of issues that I’d like our prime minister to be focusing on.”
She was also critical of new Speaker Andrew Wallace who she said was “letting the government get away with a lot of answers (in question time) that are really quite irrelevant”.
The government is expected to continue to face pressure over not presenting a bill to set up a federal anti-corruption commission, despite promising it at the 2019 election.
There is also debate around what type of inquiry will scrutinise religious discrimination laws introduced this week by Mr Morrison.
The upper house rejected the government’s idea of a Senate legislation committee inquiry and Labor is pushing for an inquiry which can involve members and senators.
It is expected the report of an independent review into parliamentary workplaces – which followed claims of bullying, sexual harassment and assault – will be tabled later in the week.