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Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5007

Member for Dobell

Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (14:48): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer the Acting Prime Minister to the statement by the Prime Minister that the member for Dobell would not represent the Labor Party in Dobell at the next election and that he would be excluded from the Labor caucus—a statement which the Prime Minister has reaffirmed in Chicago today. Does the Acting Prime Minister agree with the Prime Minister? If so, isn't it true that both he and the Prime Minister have been prepared to act as judge and jury over the member for Dobell in every respect other than refusing to accept his vote in the parliament?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:49): No, I do not, and I would like to take some time to explain why. There is an enormous difference between the decision taken by the Prime Minister and the decision taken by the member for Dobell to go to the crossbenches and what has been put forward by the opposition in this House. There is an enormous difference. What is going on in this House today is that those opposite want this parliament to be a kangaroo court. We saw that earlier today with the reference to the Privileges Committee by the Manager of Opposition Business. He wants this parliament to be judge, jury and executioner; whereas we on this side of the House believe that people are innocent until they are proven guilty and that they should be given an opportunity to explain themselves. Those on that side of the House want to turn this parliament into a kangaroo court. They should be ashamed of the tactics that they have applied in this House both yesterday and again today.

The opposition have basically been trashing the rule of law in our country. That is what has been going on. They have been coming into this House and denying the presumption of innocence, and they have been denying the separation of power. All of this comes from the Leader of the Opposition. All of it comes from him. He wants to tear down the very pillars of our democracy. He wants to tear down the rule of law for political gain. I will tell you what: that is not leadership; that is weakness and cowardice. I can tell everybody in this House, and you can literally feel it here: there is a stench of negativity about this Leader of the Opposition and everybody over there knows it. These are the sort of 'say anything, do anything' tactics that we have had from the Leader of the Opposition that demonstrate that he is unfit for high office.