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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5825


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:05): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Attorney-General (Senator Brandis) to a question without notice asked by Senator Gallagher today relating to Australia's relationship with New Zealand.

I move this motion on the basis that that was one of the most enjoyable question times I've had in this place for years! To watch the senators on the other side bury their heads, time after time, when Senator Brandis was on his feet was absolutely delicious! This is one of the worst days that this government could have had. I will quote Paul Kelly, The Australian's editor-at-large, which is something I wouldn't normally do. Paul Kelly says:

Whether or not Joyce is found ineligible, the government’s standing will be diminished and its vulnerability paraded. It proves yet again that Labor is structurally superior on politics— it outsmarts, outmuscles and out-thinks the government on almost every issue.

Luck runs Labor’s way but that is no accident.

Who would have thought that Paul Kelly would expose the weaknesses in this rabble of a government, this government that can do nothing right, this government that is so consumed by its internal disputes and its will to survive. Who would have thought that such an eminent commentator from the right wing of politics would stand and say that this government is in such a mess. He goes on to say:

How long before the Prime Minister will address the political weakness at the heart of his government, a weakness obvious to the entire world? As if to prove its ineptitude the government’s tactical response yesterday—accusing Bill Shorten of seeking to seize office by a conspiracy with a foreign power (New Zealand, of course, who else?)—was gobsmacking.

So here we have one of the most senior commentators in politics in this country saying that the government's response yesterday was absolutely gobsmacking.

And then there is Mark Kenny. Senator Brandis was quite disparaging about Mark Kenny. Well, Mark Kenny has been around a long time and he certainly can see a problem when it's there. He says:

Government is no business to be in if you're not very good at politics, nor up for the fight.

Not only is Mark Kenny saying you are a hopeless lot, a rabble of a government, he's saying you're not even up for the fight!

This is the most inept government I have ever seen. You have one of the weakest prime ministers this country has ever seen. You've got an Attorney-General who tries to bluff and bluster his way out of every problem that is before this parliament; it's no wonder that you bury your heads in your hands every question time. This was a fantastic question time, because it just demonstrated how out of touch the coalition is and how this coalition is consumed by issues that are not important to the rest of the country.

This is a government that cannot understand that ordinary working families and people on social security benefits are battling in this country. All they want to do is run arguments between each other and demonstrate that they are not fit to be a government in this country. The Prime Minister should resolve the chaos in the coalition. The Prime Minister should show a little bit of courage, call an election and let the public have their say on what is the worst government this country has ever seen. (Time expired)