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Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Page: 28


Mr WATTS (Gellibrand) (13:30): The new Prime Minister had a biblical moment in the chamber this morning. No, the chamber did not recognise his divinity; instead, as parliament opened this morning, before the metaphorical rooster crowed, new Malcolm denied old Malcolm three times. The new Prime Minister denied his previous views on marriage equality, he denied his previous views on climate change and he denied his previous views on an Australian republic. We on this side of the House asked the new Prime Minister whether he knew the man who expressed those views on those important issues and his response was clear: 'Never heard of him.' Indeed, the manager of government business went so far as to gag old Malcolm from debating new Malcolm. It is understandable. It must be embarrassing for him to have a Prime Minister whose words and actions do not agree with each other, who says one thing and does another. It would almost be like having a Prime Minister who said he wanted to join the Labor Party and then turned around and joined the Liberals to pursue Tony Abbott's extreme ideological agenda.

Why does this matter? There could be a perfectly good reason for someone to change their mind: the facts could change; sometimes people grow: they see the light and the truth becomes clear. But, as Pontius Pilate said, 'What is truth?' Unfortunately for Australians who care about climate change, marriage equality or the republic, the new Prime Minister's truth flows not from his judgement about the national interest and what is right for our country but from the extreme right-wing votes he needs in the coalition party room to retain his own job.