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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7145


Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (15:04): I second the motion. I say that I do so much more in sorrow than I do in anger, because I do feel sorry for my country. I feel sorry that this country has had to put up with a government that has become such a shambles, such a dysfunctional embarrassment, that has made us the laughing stock of our region and in some quarters in the world.

I am sorry that our Prime Minister and our government have such contempt for the Australian people that they have so internally focused all their attention that standing orders need to be suspended today because it is more important to air the issues surrounding the Labor Party leadership again than it is to do any other item of business. The parliament, the media and the public are paralysed by the ongoing train wreck that this government and this country have become.

I am sorry for the Australian people. I am sorry for them that they have had to put up for three years with the division, the dysfunction, the chaos, the bitterness and the poison that is the hallmark of this terrible, shambolic, embarrassing government.

I am sorry that we have had to move this motion today, because what we are seeing at the moment in Australia is a Prime Minister who has gone from being the hunter to the hunted. She started as Lady Macbeth three years ago, and this week we see her in the role of Madam Defarge, who thought she was going to an execution and it turned out to be her own.

Today or tomorrow the Labor Party appears to be moving against the Prime Minister. Yet again, three years later almost to the day, the faceless men of the ALP in their desperate attempt to scramble onto any floating boat, any floating device, believe that if they execute the Prime Minister politically they may save themselves and the little bit of power that they have in the Labor caucus.

But what are they changing to, if they do indeed change? What have they said about this apparent white knight riding over the hills to save the Labor Party—one of the worst governments in Australia's history? Who could serve on the frontbench under a government that is headed by the member for Griffith? A litany of ministers have said they would not serve: the Treasurer, the minister for communications, the minister for schools, the minister for early childhood, the minister for trade, the Minister for Health, the minister for resources. Seven ministers, most of them cabinet ministers, would immediately be forced to resign if the Labor Party returns to the member for Griffith—a worse day of knives than the one that saw the Prime Minister seeing off the putative challenge in March this year.

And what if the member for Griffith becomes the Prime Minister again? How could he lead a party that has refused to be led by him before? The Treasurer said about the member for Griffith:

The Party has given [the member for Griffith] all the opportunities in the world and he wasted them with his dysfunctional decision making and his deeply demeaning attitude towards other people including [his] caucus colleagues.

He also said:

He sought to tear down the 2010 campaign, deliberately risking an Abbott Prime Ministership, and now he undermines the Government at every turn.

The Treasurer said:

The truth is that Prime Minister Rudd was deeply flawed.

Steve Gibbons, the retiring member for Bendigo, said:

… only a psychopath with a giant ego would line up again after being comprehensively rejected by the overwhelming majority of his colleagues.

The minister for water said:

… the stories that were around of the chaos, of the temperament, of the inability to have decisions made, they are not stories.

Stephen Conroy said—

The SPEAKER: The member at the table needs to refer to the motion before the chair.

Mr PYNE: Standing orders need to be suspended, Madam Speaker, so that we can air the conversations publicly that are happening in the corridors of the parliament as we speak. Conversations like this one, where the minister for communications said:

Kevin Rudd had contempt for the cabinet, contempt for the cabinet members, contempt for the caucus, contempt for the Parliament. And … the Australian [people] worked out that he had contempt for them …

Madam Speaker, standing orders should be suspended because the country deserves so much better than we are seeing from this government. And only a proper debate that airs all of the grievances that the Labor Party has about the member for Griffith can clear the air this afternoon and allow an election to be held on 3 August to give people the chance to decide, not the faceless men.