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Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Page: 6032

Senator CHISHOLM (Queensland) (15:25): What we saw in the chamber today in question time—more than two weeks on from the change in the leadership when they tore down the previous Prime Minister—was that they still can't answer a very, very simple question, and that is: why do we have a new Prime Minister? Why do the Australian people have to put up with an illegitimate Prime Minister, someone they didn't vote for? The reason those opposite can't answer that question is: they've all got different reasons as to why it happened, so they can't actually agree as to what the reason was.

There are basically four different motivations from those opposite for why they tore down Malcolm Turnbull and foisted upon us and installed an illegitimate Prime Minister in Scott Morrison. Let's explore those four reasons. There are basically four groups. We know them quite well.

First there are the anyone-but-Turnbulls. We know those ones; there's former Prime Minister Abbott, and in this chamber they're represented by Senator Abetz. They would basically vote for anyone but Malcolm Turnbull. If the alternative to Malcolm Turnbull were Mickey Mouse, they'd vote for Mickey Mouse—or for a muppet, I should say, given how they've described it. We know their motivation, because basically their careers or their ministerial careers ended on the day that Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister all those years ago. So that's their motivation.

Then we have those who run with them, who are basically on the extreme right of the Liberal Party. They just can't stand anything that Malcolm Turnbull, the former Prime Minister, supposedly stood for. So they were never ever going to cop him, and they have used every opportunity they've had to undermine the government. So they're the second group, basically.

Then the third group were the Dutton backers. They are probably the saddest group of all, because they, at some stage, must have thought that Peter Dutton, the minister, would make a good Prime Minister. That's actually quite scary. It probably says a fair bit about Malcolm Turnbull and how useless he was as a Prime Minister that there was a group opposite, the third group, who thought that Peter Dutton, as Prime Minister, would do a better job.

Then there's the fourth group, the Turnbull supporters, who obviously stuck with Malcolm Turnbull until the end. We know that there was some toing and froing from the Senate leader, Senator Cormann, in that regard. At the end of the day he wasn't part of that group. But there were others in this chamber and in the other place who stuck loyally to the former Prime Minister.

If you think about those four groups, they've all got such different motivations. Up through the middle came the current Prime Minister—the current, illegitimate Prime Minister in Scott Morrison. But none of them can actually agree as to how or why he got there. That's the fundamental problem that they have. That's why they can't actually answer this question as to why we have a new Prime Minister.

The Australian public deserve so much better. You need to be honest with them. You need to actually say why we got rid of the former Prime Minister. Explain the reasons why. Be up-front and honest with the Australian people. They deserve better than what you mob are giving them at the moment. What we know—and this goes to those four groups I talked about and to the dysfunction of the Liberal Party—is that, no matter what the issue is, they are completely dysfunctional. We also saw today that the coalition government is dysfunctional as well. Senator McKenzie, the Deputy Leader of the National Party, was unable to provide any clarity on TV on Q&A last night or in this chamber today. So you've got the Liberals, who can't answer the question about why we have this illegitimate Prime Minister. You've got the Nationals, who aren't providing any support to them. And the Australian public are, subsequently, being treated like mushrooms.

What we know with the coalition and the Liberal Party is that they are completely divided. They're split when it comes to leadership, they're split when it comes to personality and they're split when it comes to policy. We know that they have been focused on their own internal divisions for more than two years now. The Australian people democratically elected the Prime Minister just over two years ago. Yet they've disposed of him and they provide no justification and no explanation to the Australian people. The Australian people deserve so much better than what the Liberal Party has dished up in the last two weeks since they disposed of the former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

When it comes to the illegitimate Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, we know what his record is. We know he stands for cuts to health and education. We know that he opposed a banking royal commission 26 times. We know he supports tax cuts for big banks and big business. That is a continuation of what the Turnbull government stood for. That's all we're seeing when it comes to the new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

Question agreed to.