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Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Page: 7951


Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (15:15): This motion should be defeated because this House does have confidence in the Prime Minister of Australia, the member for Wentworth. This motion should be voted against because this House and this government have confidence in the Prime Minister, the member for Wentworth.

This side of the House welcomes a debate about character. We are more than happy to fight the next election on the character of the Prime Minister versus the character of the Leader of the Opposition, because this Leader of the Opposition—

Mr Keogh interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Burt is just back—

Mr PYNE: is a political fraud. He is a political fraud. He just gave a speech dripping with hypocrisy, dripping with bitterness—a venomous, vicious, vituperative speech from a man who nobody on his side of the House trusts. The Leader of the Opposition has left a trail of destruction behind him throughout his political career. This is a man his colleagues do not trust. This is a man who needs the CFMEU to break up meetings of the ALP in Victoria, to protect himself from his own members. This Leader of the Opposition is prepared to bring union thugs into every single forum of the Labor Party in Victoria, to control preselections, to control policy outcomes, to give them $2½ million worth of donations. And why? Because this Leader of the Opposition always puts himself first, ahead of every single other person.

He has a list of victims as long as your arm, not just within the former Labor Party Caucus and not just people like Bob Sercombe, the former member for Maribyrnong, who was cut down by the Leader of the Opposition in his own electorate. Take Gavan O'Connor, the former member for Corio; he got in the way; he had to be dispatched by the Leader of the Opposition so that his friends could get seats. But worst of all was when they tried to take out Simon Crean, one of the doyens of the Labor Party in Victoria, a former Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition's faction had to take him out because he got in the way of this man's quest for power.

This man's quest for power was so low that he was prepared to take the penalty rates away from the lowest paid workers of Australia, from cleaners at Cleanevent. This was the man who thought: 'The cleaners of Australia are vulnerable, and I can get some benefit out of them. I can get an advantage out of them.' Do you know what the advantage was, Mr Speaker? Lists, so he could increase his power in the ALP; cash, so he could buy more memberships within the ALP; and preselection power in the Victorian ALP. And the poor old workers at Cleanevent were the ones who had to suffer. They were the ones that had to go without their penalty rates. And this is a man who comes in and gives speeches about penalty rates.

But that wasn't enough, of course. The workers at Chiquita Mushrooms got exactly the same treatment. The workers at Chiquita Mushrooms were dispatchable as well, along with the cleaners from Cleanevent.

And other leaders of the Labor Party couldn't trust him, either. Julia Gillard couldn't trust him. Kevin Rudd didn't trust him. And it was written about in Paul Kelly's book. Paul Kelly wrote: 'The distrust between Rudd and Shorten was intense and enduring. The Gillard camp was contemptuous of Shorten, considering him weak and duplicitous.' That's one thing she got right. 'Neither side trusted him, and neither side revised its view.'

If the Leader of the Opposition wants an election on character, we'll take it every day, because this side of the House backs the Prime Minister of Australia, the member for Wentworth. The worst subject you could possibly fight an election on would be character. If you decide to have an election around character, we'll line up our Prime Minister against your Leader of the Opposition every single day.

We know what we stand for. We stand for lower taxes, we stand for families and we stand for farmers. We stand for balancing the budget. We stand for putting more money into infrastructure and industry. And that's why this side of the House has governed for two-thirds of the last 70 years: because our values are the values of the Australian people. That's why we've won six of the last eight elections and that's why we're going to win the next one, next year!

The SPEAKER: The question is that the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition be agreed to.

Mr Turnbull: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.