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Monday, 4 December 2017
Page: 9476

Prime Minister


Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:00): My question is to the minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. Following the Queensland election, the Prime Minister said it was 'fought very much, as we know, on state issues'. The New South Wales Nationals leader and Deputy Premier, John Barilaro said:

What really got up my goat … on Sunday was to hear the Prime Minister of this nation say there were no federal issues that affected the state election. That's just a joke.

Is New South Wales Deputy Premier Barilaro correct?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:00): Mr President, the first time I'd even heard of Mr Barilaro was on Friday morning, when he burst forth into lurid light, courtesy of the Alan Jones radio program. Now, Mr Barilaro did offer some interesting observations, but I'm more interested, Senator McAllister, in the observations that were made the following day in National Party heartland in New England, when the people of New England re-elected the once and future Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Barnaby Joyce—who, I suspect, has heard of Mr Barilaro—with the biggest swing to the government in any by-election in Australian history. So, Senator McAllister, if I may say so with respect, if you're going to ask one of these cute, tricky, political questions, you might at least direct your mind to the more recent election—not the Queensland election and not the dribblings of some obscure politician, who nobody outside of New South Wales has ever heard of—but the most recent and most emphatic statement of electoral opinion which we saw the day before yesterday. It was not from the Queensland election, which was the previous week, and not from Mr Barilaro, who nobody has ever heard of, if they don't live in New South Wales, but from the people of New England who re-elected Barnaby Joyce, with, as I say, the biggest swing to a government candidate at a by-election in Australian history. If you want to see a scene of domestic bliss, just have a look at Mr Joyce and Mr Turnbull standing side by side in Tamworth last Saturday night—that is the spirit of this government.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McAllister, on a supplementary question.



Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:02): Mr Barilaro went on to say:

Turnbull is the problem, the Prime Minister is the problem.

Does the Prime Minister accept that he is the problem and, if not, has the Prime Minister made contact with Mr Barilaro to discuss his concerns?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:03): If Mr Barilaro said that, then that opinion is no doubt an opinion that Mr Barilaro holds, which is not shared by anybody else.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McAllister, a final supplementary question.



Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:03): Given that Mr Barilaro's views are shared by members of Mr Turnbull's own backbench, will the Prime Minister accept Mr Barilaro's advice to 'give Australians a Christmas gift and go before Christmas'?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:03): It demonstrates the obscurity of Mr Barilaro, Senator McAllister, that, even though you're from New South Wales yourself, you have trouble pronouncing his name. We have all heard the old saying, 'free advice is worth what you pay for it'. On this occasion, Mr Barilaro's musings are worth considerably less than that.