Bill's Speeches

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS - CANBERRA - MONDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2018

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

I move — That so much of standing orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving the following motion immediately.
 
That the House:
 

  1. Notes:

a. The last time this Parliament sat, the Government shut down this House because this Government was unable and unwilling to govern itself;

b. The next day, the Government deposed the elected Prime Minister but nobody is able to explain why;

c. The Government continues to be wracked by infighting, with Government Members leaking against each other on an almost daily basis;

d. The current Prime Minister claims he remained loyal to Malcolm Turnbull, but his own Liberal Party colleagues have been briefing that he was plotting to depose the former Prime Minister for some time;

e. The current Prime Minister has described his own Government as a “Muppet Show” and his own colleagues as Muppets;

f. Government Members do not trust each other, are only focused on fighting themselves, and cannot possibly be trusted to look out for the interests of the Australian people; and


2. Therefore, condemns this Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government for only being focused on itself and not on helping Australians.

 
 
Every Australian wants to know, as Parliament resumes, why isn't Malcolm Turnbull the Prime Minister of Australia?
 
Last time the Parliament met, the Liberals and Nationals voted together to shut this place down. 
 
They gave up even pretending to care about the country. 
 
They walked off the job - not in protest, not in pursuit even of better conditions - but in simple surrender.
 
Being in government was too hard for this government. 
 
In that moment, once and for all, they proved they are simply unfit to govern Australia.
 
And now they return with a different Prime Minister and a different Treasurer and they expect people to think that the past five years was simply a bad dream. 
 
Yet they cannot answer the very first question that every Australian has been asking for the last 16 days: why was Malcolm Turnbull sacked?
 
Barrie Cassidy on the ABC show, Insiders, asked the Treasurer that very question three times. Why was the Prime Minister knifed?
 
Normally the words pour out of the loquacious Member for Kooyong - nothing he enjoys more than the sound of him answering one of his own dixers. 
 
But yesterday, the well ran dry. 
 
He was squirming in his seat, he tried to duck and weave but he never came within cooee of answering the question.
 
Either he couldn't answer or he didn't want to. 
 
But it wasn't just the Treasurer. 
 
The Leader of the House - normally so eloquent, so quick with a witty opinion on the matter of the day - he actually made history, did the Member for Sturt. He was the first politician to be caught by a gotcha question on his own show.
 
The intrepid journalist, none other than a Member for Corio, asked him: 
 
Why exactly did we need a new Prime Minister? 
 
Now what did the Member for Sturt say:

The question you ask is a good one.
 
It is yet to be answered by those people who thought there needed to be a change.
 
Have a quiet whisper to the Member for Dickson next to you - maybe he will let you in on the picture.
 
'Those people', he calls them. That's how he talks about more than half of his colleagues. 
 
But to be fair to the Member for Sturt, at least that's polite to what the Prime Minister describes his entire party: Muppets. 
 
It goes to show you how deep, how toxic, how bitter the divisions are in the Liberal Party.
 
On morning television last week, the Prime Minister said:
 
The curtain had gone down on the Muppet Show.
 
But already we can see it wasn't an end, it was only an intermission. 
 
Since he said that - Monday last week, some kind patriot in the Liberal Party, in the resistance, leaked the entire infrastructure plan of the government.
 
Not to be outdone on Tuesday, another patriot in the resistance leaked the whole of the plan to fix up Catholic school education, neglected of course, to look after public schools but that's their DNA. 
 
Wednesday, another patriot in the resistance leaks the entire business tax options for the government.
 
And on Thursday - for good measure - one of the anonymous bullies of the Liberal Party pays back the Member for Chisholm for speaking up against the bullies. 
 
And of course all week, we had the freedom fighters out there, on and off the record, explaining how Prime Minister Morrison outmanoeuvred would-be Prime Minister Dutton and former Prime Minister Turnbull.
 
But who is, who is, actually the director of the production - who is the Jim Henson of The Muppet Show of the Government of Australia.
 
And it is the same as it's ever been, the Member for Warringah.
 
Two weeks ago wasn't the end of the civil war, it was just the opening shot and the next battle we see every day.
 
And we already see the recriminations. 
 
The campaign of leaks against the poor old Minister for Home Affairs over his conflict of interest, his visas for mates - not mates depending on what we know, when we know it. 
 
And of course the debate over his constitutional eligibility under section 44. 
 
And we've seen the recriminations much more seriously, indeed even than that: the shocking allegations of bullying and intimidation.
 
We see women Members of Parliament like the Member for Chisholm, we've seen Senator Gichuhi, we've seen the Member for Curtin - even the Minister for Women - talking about serious allegations of thuggery and stand over tactics.
 
And of course, you've had the Member for Leichhardt out again today making the same point.
 
But of course on the other hand, against the victims of the bullying, we've got the Member for Hughes saying they should roll with the punches.

This is indeed a character test for the new Prime Minister.
 
Bullies are not entitled to the protection of secrecy.
 
They do not deserve a deliberate silence from the Prime Minister of Australia. 
 
The simple point is this: the best place for the Liberal Party to resolve all of these toxic, poisonous issues, the best place for them to get it out of their system is a good long stint in opposition.
 
And there are no shortcuts to promoting women. 
 
The Liberal Party will not be taken seriously on the issue of equal representation of women in parliament until you introduce quotas like the Labor Party has.
 
Now of course, the Australian people didn't vote for this current Prime Minister and his own party can't explain why he's there. 
 
But one thing that is clear is his record -
 
The Prime Minister has spent the past 16 days trying to hide from the previous five years. 
 
We remember though.
 
We remember when he was Minister for Social Services in the Abbott Government; cutting child care, cutting support for families, increasing the threshold before people are able access the age pension and pushing the retirement age to 70. 
 
We remember when he attacked nurses and police officers who'd negotiated improvements in their paid parental leave as rorters.
 
We remember when he was Treasurer, presiding over the lowest wages growth in this nation, yet he voted eight times to cut penalty rates.

We remember when he insulted the victims of banking rip offs by mocking the banking Royal Commission as a "populist whinge"
 
We remember when he voted 26 times to protect the big banks from scrutiny, to deny justice to Australian farmers and small businesses and banking consumers and homeowners.
 
We remember the three years and three budgets that he devoted to giving some of these same banks a $17 billion dollar handout. 
 
We remember the three years and the three budgets where he's helped double the deficit. 
 
We remember the three years and the three budgets that have cut schools, cut TAFE and apprenticeships, cut university, cut hospitals, cut support for pensioners and frozen the Medicare patient rebate -
 
All in the name of funding Australia's biggest ever handout to the top end of town.
 
But there is a simple fact here which deserves more attention.
 
Forty-five Members of the Liberal Party voted to spill the Liberal leadership and sack Malcolm Turnbull.
 
Forty-five.
 
But only 40 voted for the Member for Dickson.
 
Who are these other five Liberal MPs who wanted their own man, the current Prime Minister up. 
 
They were clever enough to spill the Prime Minister's position and clever enough not to vote for the Member of Dickson.
 
Who is the person who has benefited most from the instability in the current Liberal workforce? 
 
Who has benefited most from the spill on Prime Minister Turnbull and by not voting for the Member for Dickson?
 
It's current Prime Minister - the man who now holds the office.
 
This Prime Minister was not an innocent bystander in the leadership coup any more than he was a bit-player in the Abbott and Turnbull leaderships. 
 
Every day at the Cabinet table for the past five years, doing over working and middle income families in Australia.
 
Saying fairness repeatedly like a mantra doesn't make up for five years of unfairness.
 
His record speaks for his character far louder than anything he yells in Question Time. 
 
The Australian people are sick and tired of watching the Liberal Party fight themselves.
 
They deserve better than a government consumed by jealousy and ambition and animosity. 
 
No amount of badge wearing, no amount of covering up in evangelical lectures. 
 
It's time for the Australian people to have a say on the government of this country.


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