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Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 1776


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:59): I second the motion. It is important that the House suspend standing orders because this House and the Australian public deserve an honest explanation from this Prime Minister—a Prime Minister who has a passing acquaintance with the truth; a Prime Minister who in recent days has unleashed her dogs of war to incite an unprecedented wave of vitriol and public vilification against a former leader of the Labor Party and a former Labor Prime Minister. It is important that standing orders are suspended so that the Prime Minister can explain why she sent out her lieutenants to describe a former Prime Minister of this nation and a former foreign minister of this nation as 'a psychopath with a huge ego', as 'deeply flawed' and having 'great weaknesses', as someone 'disloyal to the labour movement', as a person 'whose behaviour became increasingly erratic' and as someone who 'showed contempt for cabinet, contempt for the parliament and contempt for the Australian public'.

Mr Albanese: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This motion is for a suspension of standing orders. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition was quite prepared to move multiple points of order the last time that I spoke on one of these suspensions. I ask the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to come back to the question.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House is entirely correct. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will focus on the motion moved by her leader.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: The suspension must be allowed so that the Prime Minister can explain why her lieutenants called the foreign minister somebody with chaotic work patterns who sabotaged the 2010 campaign. The Prime Minister appointed this—on her assessment; on Labor's assessment—'deeply flawed individual with a personality disorder' as foreign minister. Labor say that he was fit to be the foreign minister of this country. On that basis—

Mr Albanese: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is now making allegations on the basis of a motion that is for a suspension of standing orders. They did not seek leave to do so.

Mr Dutton: You are being frivolous.

The SPEAKER: The member for Dickson will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a). I, as the chair, will determine whether a point of order is frivolous.

The member for Dickson then left the chamber.

Mr Albanese: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is defying your ruling. She must speak to the substance of the motion before the chair, which is the suspension of standing orders.

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will focus on the motion.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: Standing orders must be suspended so that the Prime Minister can explain how the extraordinary public revelations of the dysfunction, division and chaos at the centre of the government over the last 18 months will end with today's bloodletting. On Labor's own assessment of their former leader and of their current leader, their choice today was between a psychopath and a sociopath, with the Labor Party in continuous group therapy for the last three years. It is important that we suspend standing orders because some of these comments were made by the Prime Minister, who saw fit to conduct a campaign of vilification from the prime ministerial office, another example of the squalid culture of the Prime Minister's office that gave rise to the riots on Australia Day. That is why standing orders must be—

The SPEAKER: Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat now. She no longer has the call. The question is that the motion be agreed to. I call the Prime Minister.

Mr Truss interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Nationals will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a). He specifically said that my ruling was outrageous and he is lucky that he has not been named. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. I have withdrawn the call from her. I asked her to focus on the motion before the chair. I have given the call to the Prime Minister.

The member for Wide Bay then left the chamber.