Bill's Speeches

MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - CANBERRA - THURSDAY, 20 OCTOBER 2016

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Some days are more interesting than others in this place but it is going to take a most interesting day to top the last hour and a half. 

We all heard it, that thudding noise as Malcolm Turnbull threw Tony Abbott under the bus. 

The current Liberal Prime Minister, defending the Ministers for Justice and Immigration in answering a question: 'Was he satisfied at whose version was correct?' 

And he said: 'I was satisfied in my Ministers for Immigration and Justice'. 

And then, as Question Time finished, we were still gasping at the current Prime Minister throwing the previous Prime Minister under the bus, then the previous Prime Minister stood up and threw his current boss under the bus. 

All bets are off over there in this government. 

When we drafted this MPI and said that the Government is not united, I never thought they would be the first speakers in the MPI. 

This Prime Minister promised stable government but you could tell he just couldn't wait to rip Tony Abbott a new one - stable government is a second order issue. 

But Mr Speaker, this was going to be the week! This was the Prime Minister’s moment in the sun. 

You can picture him back that long 96 hours ago on Sunday. 

Back at the Lodge - luggage in the luggage lift. 

Out there, checking the letterbox seeing if there is a postcard from Wyatt Roy – ‘Wish you were here’. No, you don’t. 

Then we have the artful Arthur - Senator Sinodinos popping his head around: 

‘Great news from the front, Sire! Great news! We had a win in the ACT!’ 

‘Really?’ He pops his head out of the luggage lift. ‘What is the news? Did we win?' 

‘No, no, no' he said, 'much better than that – there are going to be some new trams to take selfies on’. 

Then of course, there's the friendly lunch with his focus group. And what was on the menu? 

I’d like to tell you, but we found out that in Estimates this week, the Prime Minister’s meals are classified. 

Who would have thought truffles were a source of national security! 

Anyway, lay out the orange tie, ready for the renaissance week, the marquee week - the government was finally going to put to rest its reputation for dithering, disunity and dysfunction. 

The ‘real Prime Minister’ - no more weakness, no more indecision. A new dawn! The third coming of Malcolm! 

And 4 days later – where are we back to? 

A   Another split in the Coalition. 

An insurgent Member for Warringah - and what was that unfamiliar noise we heard when he spoke, the drumming noise from the backbench? They’re alive! They really do exist! 

SSome might say I am being too hard on this Government. 

[Honourable members: ‘No!’] 

True. 

But making history in a few days is not as easy as they make it look.  

The first majority government since Menzies to lose a vote in the House. 

The first government to ever vote against itself. 

Calling on itself, to explain its own failings. 

And then we got an insight, when they agreed to call upon their failings and explain themselves. That's what it feels like to be in a Liberal party room meetings every Tuesday. 

And of course, they gagged their own double dissolution triggers, as you do. 

Their masterstroke - they didn't want the chamber to consider it.  

After calling the longest election campaign in fifty years – given the shortest possible time in the parliament to deal with the 'most important issue in the nation' according to the Government.  

But the good news is that the Liberal Party hasn’t lost its sense of humour! They got the Member for Fadden to ask a question about the rule of law. 

They got so bad at communicating their message yesterday that when they got the Minister for Trade up, he was talking in morse code. 

R2-D2 Ciobo, beeping away at the dispatch box. 

But of course, when things are this chaotic, who do they call? 

When there is a problem, who do they call for? They call for the Leader of the House.

Or – as he prefers to be known – the Equally Senior Co-Convenor for Defence, so long as the Minister for Defence isn't in the room and can’t hear him. 

But of course, when the parliament is falling apart – he has come up with a fix. 

Is their fix in Parliament something as simple as saying: 'You've got to be here until the end of Parliament'? 

No. 

Is it something as simple as saying: 'Check what you’re voting on before you vote? 

No. 

Instead, it had to be innovative, exciting, agile….electronic voting! That's going to fix it all. 

I can just see how electronic voting will go with this mob. 

The Minister for Revenue getting ready to condemn herself, again, and Siri saying: ‘Don't do that!’ 

Remember when the Member for Wentworth invented the Internet? There was that little paperclip they had on Microsoft Word. 

You could just see it saying: ‘It looks like you’re trying to be a Minister – do you want help with that?’ 

Of course, in the other place - there was Estimates this week. 

And I want to give a shout out to Senator Penny Wong – I don’t know how she does it. 

Five hours in conversation with the Attorney-General and the congeniality twins – Senator O’Sullivan and Senator McDonald. 

Two men ready for the bright new dawn of the 20th Century. 

And Satin George always brings us in with the news. 

In the final hours before caretaker kicked in, Senator Brandis made 37 appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. 

Jobs that pay a salary of up to $370,000. 

Let me save you doing the maths - $13.7 million in salary – nearly seven times what the Prime Minister donated to his own survival. 

None of those positions were advised, no departmental advice was provided. No-one checked for the conflicts of interest. 

The good news is we don't know if they're qualified, compromised or if they have got the job on merit - but they may well end up being Attorney-General in this government.  

Unfortunately, whilst they are good at job-creating for their own donors and supporters, too many Australians as we have learned today are missing out. 

We've seen that tens of thousands of full-time jobs are going in this country and the only thing they have got to console themselves is this mob opposite. 

And this week they did cross a serious line. By talking about tampering with a 20-year bipartisan commitment to a safer Australia. 

Dishonouring the legacy of John Howard, disregarding the warnings we see tragically from the United States so frequently.  

Do they really think their anti-union, anti-worker, anti-fairness agenda is worth more than changing the rules around lever-action weapons on the streets? They are simply not fit to be the government. 

And then they get caught in that farrago of lies. 

Clearly, the former Prime Minister has educated us today - and whilst he was having a go at the Opposition, we know his real target was the Prime Minister. 

Where he said 'there were no deals done' - yet what we see clearly is that the Minister for Justice and that the Minister for Immigration in written correspondence, offering Senator Leyonhjelm in return for his vote on other matters that they would change the rules around these lever action shotguns. 

And when the Prime Minister has a choice between… 

[Member for Stirling interjecting] 

I think you've said enough today, Minister for Justice. 

When you see the Prime Minister, he had a choice to back up the member for Warringah - but the member for Wentworth is so consumed by his dislike and his disregard for the member for Warringah - he is happy to butress these incompetents in their current jobs when they have been caught out dealing votes for guns. 

Australians don’t want this horse-trading. They do not want this horse trading on things as fundamental as their gun laws. 

And can we find out from the Government what they actually think about the gun laws and where they should be? 

Any number of times this week, we've invited our Prime Minister to inform us, to tell us what he is doing in conjunction with the Australian Federal Police advice. 

These are the question those opposite must answer. 

But the real lesson we have learnt this week is that this Government and this Prime Minister is so weak, so pathetic, so desperate that any group of bullies can tweak his tail. 

Any group of insurgents can stand him up. 

The one thing we have learned about the member for Wentworth in just over a year of his stewardship of this nation is he will: sell out his principles, sell out his previous positions, he will do anything to keep his job. 

And tragically, this nation may well have another 2 years of this weak leadership but we promise the people of Australia - we will call out the weakness, the lack of conscience, the mercenary nature of doing these deals on guns for votes and the like. 

We will never stop standing up to a weak, rotten government.

ENDS


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