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Thursday, 21 March 2013
Page: 2978

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:48): We have just witnessed a vote where the majority of the members present in the chamber supported suspension of the standing and sessional orders to bring on a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

The SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney will address the motion before the chair.

Mr HOCKEY: It all comes back to leave of absence. These people need leave of absence not for seven weeks but for 10 years—and the rest. No government has been more incompetent, no government has been more dishevelled, no government has failed more at the basic delivery of policy, than the Gillard Labor government.

Now we have the shenanigans of the parliamentary Labor Party outside this place trying to work out who is going to be the Prime Minister of Australia. It is the Australian people who deserve the chance to determine who is the Prime Minister of Australia, not the parliamentary Labor Party; not the faceless men. I understand today is the 50th anniversary of that famous event when the faceless men determined the future of the Labor Party. It was a different generation but the symbolism endures today.

As of right now the chief protagonists are out there campaigning. It is not just the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, who has himself taken leave of absence from his ministry—he has been sacked, I understand—but Richard Marles, a parliamentary secretary, was on TV just before question time saying he is going to support Kevin Rudd. He is urging the member for Griffith to run for leader of the Labor Party. It is open warfare in the Labor Party, and who gets lost in all of this? The people of Australia. They are the ones left behind, along with their concerns about costs of living, their concerns about raising their families and their concerns about law and order. They are the forgotten people—the 23 million of them.

I would urge everyone to support a motion that gives the entire Labor Party leave of absence for a decade or more because they are the ones who have forgotten everyday Australians. For forgetting the interests of everyday Australians and putting their own interests first, they do not deserve to govern. They do not deserve to occupy the Treasury bench.

Over the last few weeks it has become patently clear that, whilst the government has focused on its own interests, on its own jobs, the budget has completely collapsed—not just for this year; there are now reports that the budget over the next five years is in complete disarray, with ongoing deficits. What we have witnessed in the last few months alone is a government that has been completely besotted by its own self-interest and a government that has forgotten the national interest. It has forgotten the interests of Australians; it has forgotten how to govern—not that, arguably, it ever knew. The member for Griffith wants to be dragged kicking and screaming to the Lodge. He is a reluctant participant in this entire play. The member for Griffith: 'Please, beg me to be Prime Minister; beg me to lead your party for I am the chosen one—only I, Kevin Rudd, can lead you out of the dark valley of your destiny and only I can take you to the promised land, the promised land where I happen to be.' He is the saviour.

The SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney might relate this to the motion before the chair.

Mr HOCKEY: Of course it is only through leave of absence that the member for Griffith has come to understand that he is truly the chosen one. It is only through leave of absence, spending an extended period of over three years on the back bench—oh sorry, he was travelling the world. I am doing him an injustice because he was the world's best foreign minister for the period that he was there just as he was the world's best Prime Minister for the period he was there. He is the world's best member for Griffith and now he is the world's best would-be Prime Minister. If only his colleagues would overwhelmingly get on their knees and beg him to take over the leadership of the Labor Party. Of course, he will not accept the simple majority that most people would take. He wants every one of the members of the caucus to vote for him because the chosen one must have unanimous and complete support. The chosen one may choose not to be the chosen one but that is the right of the chosen one: to choose not to be chosen.

Mr Robert: That is very Monty Python-esque.

The SPEAKER: I remind the member for Fadden and the member for North Sydney that we are getting to the stage of Monty Python-esque. I would refer some dignity to the parliament and refer to the motion before the chair.

Mr HOCKEY: I would love dignity in the parliament, Madam Speaker, as my colleagues would. The only way we are going to get dignity in this parliament is to have a general election. The only way we are going to get dignity in this parliament is to give permanent leave of absence to the Labor Party. And the only way we are going to get dignity in this parliament is to have a government for the people, by the people, with the people on behalf of the people.

The Labor Party is a rabble. They need a permanent leave of absence and only the Australian people can deliver that.