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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 126


Ms BUTLER ( Griffith ) ( 13:5 4 ): Recently we had a very conspicuous example of the Prime Minister's weakness. I a m not talking about marri a ge equality, al though his failure to deliver it is a great e mbarrassment to him. I am speaking of the Prime Minister's failure to support former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd f or the position of UN Secretary- General. We are the country that produced Doc Evatt; we are the country that has long been internationalist. Our leaders see the value of a position on the UN Security Council—though it took some longer than others to form that view.

Who would have thought that we would squib an opportunity to seek the post of UN Secretary- General for an Australian ? It i s reported that the cabinet voted 11 to 10 in favour of Kevin Rudd's bid to compete for the post. But our faint - hearted Prime Minister, afraid of retribution from people on the fringe of his party room, caved. He blocked this opportunity to have an Australian lead the UN.

The Prime Minister must, by now, be learning that his weakness emboldens those who seek to constrain him. That is a problem for him , of course, but, more importantly , it is a problem for the nation. What a disgrace that a sitting Prime Minister did not lead the Australian government to support a former Prime Minister to take a leadership role in the UN. This should have been above partisanship and above personalities. The Prime Minister's failure in this regard reflects incredibly poorly upon him and it reflects poorly upon the Australian nation . Who did the Prime Minister barrack for in the Olympics? Was he barracking for New Zealand in the Olympics? Why wouldn't he have backed an Australian for the UN Secretary-General post? It is a disgrace. (Time expired)