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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2527

Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (14:58): I second the motion, Mr Speaker. Standing orders must be suspended because the Prime Minister says you cannot believe everything you read, but the real problem with this Prime Minister is that you cannot believe anything she says. The Prime Minister should be required to come into the House and explain the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the botched attempt to appoint Bob Carr as the foreign minister. The Prime Minister is condemned by her own words. In question time today the Prime Minister said, in answer to a question from the opposition:

I believe that it is appropriate for me as Prime Minister to have discussions with people about having the best possible team. I have got a great team, but when we are seeking to add to the team of course you have a range of conversations.

The reason the Prime Minister was speaking to Bob Carr on Monday night is that she was seeking to bring him in from the outside to add to the team. It does not stack up with her statement yesterday that the Australian's report of this story was completely untrue. Again, she was condemned by her own words. In question time today she was asked a very straightforward question.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will return to the substance of the motion.

Mr PYNE: The reason standing orders should be suspended to give this motion precedence is that we on this side of the House would like to give the Prime Minister the opportunity to explain to the House her answer today to a question from the opposition, which was that, if her statement to the Australian at a press conference that the story was 'completely untrue' was in fact true, would she repeat the statement in the House. Do you know what she did? She did not repeat it in the House. She left out a crucial word. She left out the word 'completely' from her statement today. We know why. It is because they are weasel words. She knows that if she tells the truth in this place, if she misleads the House in this place, it is a sackable offence, whereas misleading the press and misleading the people is just more Labor spin, which she has been getting away with for 4½ years in government.

The reason standing orders must be suspended to give this motion precedence is the pitiful truth that the faceless men used this Prime Minister to politically assassinate the former Prime Minister in 2010. They did it again on Monday and they don't need her any more. The circus has moved on and the Prime Minister is going to be left in the litter as the faceless men divide up the spoils of a new government under a new leader.

The facts that have been agreed in this case were well put by Dennis Shanahan today in the Australian. He said:

These are the agreed facts … Carr was offered the Senate vacancy and the position of foreign minister; Gillard spoke personally to him at least twice on Monday night; after the conversation Carr believed he was going to be foreign minister; Carr was prepared to come to Canberra on Tuesday for an announcement; Stephen Smith and Simon Crean objected; and finally the offer of foreign minister was withdrawn on Tuesday morning and the alternative of defence (Smith’s portfolio) or trade (Craig Emerson’s) was offered.

None of those facts has been disputed by anyone in the government. The Prime Minister has been left like a shag on a rock with nothing to protect her from the truth in this case. The opposition will prosecute this case, and we are getting plenty of help from the Labor Party. Even this morning backbenchers and frontbenchers were throwing up their hands in horror about the performance of the Prime Minister.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will return to the motion.

Mr PYNE: There was this brief shining moment of independence for the Prime Minister on Monday. She was like a hostage briefly freed.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Manager of Opposition Business will talk to the substance of the motion.

Mr PYNE: The reason this motion should be given precedence is that, like a hostage freed briefly on Monday, the Prime Minister tasted freedom but she was quickly wrapped up by the faceless men and put back in the dark where they think she belongs.

The Australian people deserve better than this. They deserve a government that will restore hope, reward and opportunity—not the self-indulgent rabble that now occupies the government benches. That is why standing orders should be suspended. There is nothing more important before the House than discussing the integrity and honesty of a flawed and broken Prime Minister.