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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 123


Mr WATTS (Gellibrand) (13:45): What a spectacle we witnessed earlier today. The member for Dawson executed a backflip that would have been good enough to win gold at the Rio Olympics in recanting his support for a royal commission into the banks. Indeed, just four months ago on 9 April this year, the member for Dawson tweeted:

@SenatorWacka is right: we need a royal commission into the banks. Their treatment of farmers is appalling.

On Facebook he went on to tell his supporters:

I have been a supporter of such a royal commission in the past and will continue to be stringent about the need for it in the next parliament.

He went on to ask his Facebook followers, 'Will Bill Shorten have the courage to propose a royal commission?'

Well, today Bill Shorten had the courage to move that in this parliament, and what did the member for Dawson do? Jelly-backed George Christensen became the first person in Australia to be rolled by Malcolm Turnbull on an issue of policy. Defending the banks was the first issue to spur the PM to take on the extremists in his party, not the member for Dawson's attendance at a Reclaim Australia rally, not his vilification of refugees but defending the banks. The embarrassment of this has caused the member for Dawson to block me on Twitter. I am sorry George; you cannot block me in parliament. The standing orders do not provide for it. I will not let you run away from this shameless backflip. I will remind you and I will remind your constituents that what you fought for at the last election, the big game you talked about on social media and what you told your constituents—the first vote you took in parliament, you wimped it.