" --IANS"
Canberra, Nov 20 - The Australian government on Monday cancelled the penultimate parliamentary sitting week of 2017 that was scheduled for November 27, officials said.

Christopher Pyne, leader of the House of Representatives announced the cancellation, Xinhua news agency reported.

There has been speculation that the government made the decision to avoid the embarrassment of losing any votes in the lower house after losing its majority.

John Alexander and Barnaby Joyce from the Liberal National Party (LNP), have vacated their seats after finding they were ineligible to serve in parliament on account of being dual citizens.

Their departure has left the LNP with fewer than the minimum of 76 seats required in the House of Representatives to form the government, leaving them open to the possibility of losing votes on key matters such as a royal commission into the banking industry which they have opposed.

In a post on social media, Opposition leader Bill Shorten accused the government of running scared, a sentiment which was shared by Greens MP Adam Bandt who said that the LNP was terrified it has lost control of parliament.

--IANS

umer/ksk/bg


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