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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1665

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (15:12): I rise to second this important motion. It must be dealt with now. I think there is not a person in this building, be they amongst our colleagues, be they on the opposite side, be they in the press gallery or be they in the general gallery, who does not know what is going on. We have seen over the last fortnight the calcification of the aorta of the Australian government. It goes to the heart of what is going on. Confidence is being undermined amongst the general public because this government is not getting on with the job. It can pass bills through this place but, out there, Australians are looking with bewilderment at the antics of the government in this case. They are looking at the government with bewilderment because the government is dysfunctional. We must suspend standing orders now and have the matter dealt with. The Prime Minister has to rebuild confidence and trust with the Australian people.

Jerry Seinfeld said there is no such thing as a day of fun for the whole family. Today we have seen the dysfunctionality of the whole family over there. We have seen the parade of roosters. The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations came up and gave us a parade for question time. We saw the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government come up and give us a little parade for question time.

The SPEAKER: The honourable member will return to the substance of the motion.

Mr HOCKEY: This is why we must suspend standing orders now. They are wasting the time of the parliament parading for the leadership in what is effectively a primary for the prime ministership, rather than focusing on the best interests of the Australian people. The deceit that the government is engaging in is infecting all of their words—even yesterday, when the Treasurer got up and said that the private health insurance cuts were in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Well, none of us could find it specifically identified in that document. But that is the way of the Treasurer, because he is infected with the same disease as the Prime Minister, the lying disease, and it has infected every single part of this government, whether it be on Australia Day—

The SPEAKER: Order! The member will withdraw.

Mr HOCKEY: I will withdraw, Mr Speaker. The government has given us broken words on private health insurance, broken words on the carbon tax and broken words in relation to a deal on poker machines, but it has given us unbelievable words on Australia Day, on leadership speeches and on polling matters that go to the heart of the integrity of the Prime Minister. We all know—that is, the Australian people all know—that something is going to happen within the government to bring down the Prime Minister.

The SPEAKER: The member will return to the substance of the motion.

Mr HOCKEY: The problem is it is affecting the way this parliament is operating. It is affecting the confidence of the Australian people, so it must be dealt with now. All other matters before this House are, for this moment, insignificant until the matter of the leadership of the Labor Party is dealt with. It must be dealt with because Australians are sick and tired of a dysfunctional government. They are tired. They are bewildered at how a government could be so dysfunctional, so incoherent and so untruthful. The bond of trust between a Prime Minister and the people is sacred, and this Prime Minister on numerous occasions had broken that—

The SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member will withdraw the term 'untruthful'.

Mr HOCKEY: Mr Speaker, I withdraw. The bond of trust between the Australian people and their Prime Minister and their government is sacred. Because it is sacred, when that bond is broken Australia reflects that broken trust.

Mr Husic interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Chifley will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a).

The member for Chifley then left the chamber.

Mr HOCKEY: Therefore, it is now time for the Prime Minister to come clean with the Australian people. More particularly, it is time for the Labor Party to come clean with the Australian people. No more deals. We know the deals that are going on. We know there was a reshuffle because the minister for employment called on the Prime Minister to put her in cabinet. We know that Senator Arbib was left out and is now negotiating to have the minister for employment become the next Treasurer under Kevin Rudd. We know these things are happening. Now is the time to get good government back in Australia. Get this Prime Minister on her feet and get this matter resolved. (Time expired)

The SPEAKER: I remind the honourable member for North Sydney that he ought to refer to the Minister for Foreign Affairs by his title.