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Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Page: 6016

Morrison Government


Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:30): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. On Monday last week, the government's entire infrastructure plan was leaked to the media. On Tuesday, the government's plan to try to end its war with the Catholic schools sector was leaked. On Wednesday, the government's latest business tax plan was leaked. What steps has the Prime Minister taken to identify the source of these leaks?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and the Public Service, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:31): We have very high regard for the work of the fourth estate as part of a vibrant parliamentary democracy. It's always good to see when there are reports about the hard work that's being done by the coalition government to invest in our infrastructure to grow the economy to ensure that Australians have the best possible opportunity to get ahead. Quite frankly, Labor this week has been all about the politics, while we're getting on with the job of making Australia stronger, keeping the economy strong, keeping Australians safe and keeping Australians together.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left! I'm not going to call Senator Gallacher until there's silence on my left. Senator Gallacher, a supplementary question.



Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:32): In addition to the policy leaks on Thursday last week, there was leaking against the member for Chisholm, and all week there was leaking about the Prime Minister plotting to tear down the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull. Are the leaks coming from forces loyal to former Prime Minister Turnbull, to the minister's preferred candidate, Mr Dutton, or to the new Prime Minister, Mr Morrison—or simply all three camps?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and the Public Service, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:32): While the Labor Party keeps focusing on the internals of the Liberal Party, we continue to focus on the Australian people. We continue to focus on making sure that Australia is as strong as possible and that Australians today and in the future have the best possible opportunity to get ahead, and on keeping the economy strong, keeping Australians safe and keeping Australians together. That is what we are focused on. We will leave the political shenanigans to you.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left. Senator Gallacher, a final supplementary question.



Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:33): Is a divided government leaking against itself what Prime Minister Morrison meant when he said, 'the muppet show is over'?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and the Public Service, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:33): What I would remind Senator Gallacher and the Australian people of is that, when Labor lost government in 2013, they left behind a weakening economy, rising unemployment and a rapidly deteriorating budget position, and, over the last five years, our Liberal-National government has turned that situation around. The economy now is stronger. Employment growth is much stronger. The unemployment rate is well below where it was anticipated to have been. Indeed, the budget is in a much stronger position now, on a stronger foundation and trajectory for the future. I'll say it again: we'll leave the political shenanigans to you. We will continue to do what is best for the Australian people. The Morrison government will build on the significant record of achievement of the Abbott and Turnbull governments over the last five years, dealing with the mess that Labor left behind. Of course, Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen were senior members in the government that left behind a weakening economy, rising unemployment and a rapidly deteriorating budget position. They haven't learnt their lesson. They want to inflict the same damage on the Australian economy again. (Timeexpired)