Is Gillard\'s Number Up?

If independent candidate Kerryn Phelps wins Saturday's Wentworth by-election, the Liberal-National coalition will be reduced to 74 members on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The Speaker, currently Liberal MP Tony Smith, gets a casting vote if there's a tie in the 150-member chamber.

There are 69 Labor MPs and six MPs sit on the crossbenches including the Nationals' Kevin Hogan.

A theory has been floated that if Mr Smith is moved to the government benches and an independent is given his old job, the government could restore its majority.

However, Mr Morrison told reporters in Wentworth on Friday the government was "not planning to do that" in the context of the by-election.

"Speaker Smith is an outstanding Speaker and he's brought great discipline and control and dignity to the parliament and I look forward to him continuing to serve in that role as successfully as he has," Mr Morrison said.

Former Liberal MP turned independent Peter Slipper was elected to the Speaker's role in November 2011, giving Julia Gillard's minority government an extra number.

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, who was a senior member of the Gillard government, said it was possible to govern in minority.

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