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Thursday, 24 May 2012
Page: 5550

Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (15:05): I second the motion. It is bad enough that the Prime Minister breaks her promises to the Australian people, but it is even worse that she takes the coward's course of not standing up and fighting for her position. She takes the coward's course of running from the fight, turning her back to the battle and, instead, leaving it up to the Leader of the House every time to defend her tawdry record in office in this place on these suspension motions. But it is understandable because how could the Prime Minister stand in this House and defend the indefensible.

Mr Ruddock interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Order! The member for Berowra.

Mr PYNE: It is no surprise that she will not be here today, that she will not stand in this House to defend the indefensible. That is another reason why she should be censured: for her failure to be honest with the Australian people. She should be censured because the Prime Minister has lost the trust of the Australian people, she should be censured because the Prime Minister presides over a rotten government and she should be censured because the Australian people deserve better. I thought in question time I was not listening to Julia—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr PYNE: Standing orders should be suspended because this motion of censure against the Prime Minister is the most important matter that we can deal with before the House today. Questioning the honesty, the integrity and the character of a Prime Minister is a very serious step. We have taken it very rarely in the last five years. We may have moved many suspensions; we have hardly moved any censures. The import part of this debate is that it is about the censure of the Prime Minister. In question time the Prime Minister said:

… there is one side of politics … that you can trust …

I thought for a minute that I was listening to Julia Zemiro the comedian, not to Julia Gillard the Prime Minister. How could the Prime Minister stand in this place and seriously so argue, after the breach of faith on the carbon tax, the mandatory precommitment for poker machines, the East Timor solution, the citizens assembly and the Australia Day riot? One after another, she has broken her promises to the Australian people. That is why standing orders should be suspended, so that we can debate this motion properly and so that speakers from both sides of the House can take the time necessary.

If the government think they can defend the Prime Minister, why would they not take the censure? Former Prime Minister Howard used to take every censure that the then opposition moved, because former Prime Minister Howard had the confidence to stand in this House and defend his record, to stand and defend his government.

This Prime Minister failed to take the censure. She scurried from the chamber to coward's castle and refused to stand in here and defend her record, and for that she should be condemned. Don't just take my word for it, Madam Deputy Speaker: standing orders should be suspended and this motion should be debated, because there are people on that side of the House who want to debate this motion. Some of them have done so in the last three months. In fact, a third of the caucus voted against the Prime Minister. Rather than vote for this Prime Minister, they voted for someone they described as a psychopath.

In fact, former Prime Minister Rudd was the one who, on 24 February, said:

Julia has lost the trust of the Australian people …

He also said:

It wasn't K Rudd who made a pre-election commitment on a carbon tax. It wasn't K Rudd who made a particular commitment to Mr Wilkie on the question of poker machines. It wasn’t K Rudd who had anything to do with the East Timor solution or the Malaysia solution. These were initiatives and decisions taken uniquely by the prime minister.

Wasn't he absolutely right?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Order! The Manager of Opposition Business needs to return to the motion before the chair.

Mr PYNE: And that is why the Prime Minister should come into the House and debate this motion. The reason why standing orders should be suspended is that the censure motion must be debated in this House. I call on the cross-benchers to support this motion to suspend, because debating the integrity of the Prime Minister and her character is the most important thing we can do in this parliament to try to restore some integrity to this disastrous 43rd Parliament, which has broken the confidence of the Australian people in their national government. It is time now—not in June, not at the end of next year—for the Prime Minister to go. It is time right now, today, for the caucus to act, to do what we all know they want to do, to save their own political hides and dispatch this Prime Minister.