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Thursday, 1 August 2019
Page: 1859


Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (16:24): I rise to speak on this MPI, the failure of the government to represent the interests of all Australians. I did listen carefully to the member for Bowman, a man of some great intelligence, to see what vision he was actually going to detail in terms of the Liberal and National parties. Unfortunately, he, like everyone who has spoken in this MPI from the coalition, just seemed to be focused on doing this victory lap speech, asking their own backbenchers to cheer on their victory lap. It's quite incredible, really, in terms of a government detailing a vision for what they're about—what they believe in.

I would suggest that there are many reasons why the Morrison-McCormack government has been so devoid of vision. That's because they've jettisoned so many of the traditional liberals. We're running out of liberals in the Liberal Party! I think that when Russell Broadbent goes he will actually turn out the lights on the Liberal Party in this parliament. He'll be the last one. They've been taken over by conservatives, by flimflam men—I said 'flimflam men' particularly because not a lot of women have come in—and by extremists. These are extremists who are prepared to stand up on stage, a stage that's going to be devoted to spraying indiscriminate hate speech everywhere. The Prime Minister wasn't even able to say, 'We are against that'. John Howard would have spoken up; Ron Boswell would have spoken up. So many good traditional leaders of the Liberal Party—the small 'l' Liberal Party—would have spoken up.

I know that there are still a couple of small 'l' liberals on that side, but they're fast disappearing and they're being silenced. They are the quiet Australians in the coalition—

Mr Josh Wilson: The very quiet Australians!

Mr PERRETT: Very quiet! They've been muzzled by the conservatives. They've been muzzled by the flimflam men, the advertising people and the extremists who have taken over the coalition. They're not able to speak up. The Bob Menzies Liberals used to actually get that Australia was all about helping people up. That is part of our fabric—to give a helping hand to people. Wherever you are, it's all about mateship. It's a 60,000-year-old tradition that you look after the collective; you look after the tribe, the mob. We furthered that in the convict gangs and so did the settlers in areas where they helped each other out. At Gallipoli we helped people up, and at Kokoda and Long Tan—wherever it was, we'd always reach out a helping hand for people. But this party now, this coalition, is running out of liberals. They've become a husk without a heart; a shadow, without substance. The engine is ticking over but they no longer have a steering wheel to work out where they're going.

I remember when I was a kid—and I'll leave that story for another day!