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Thursday, 27 June 2013
Page: 4291

Senator JOYCE (QueenslandLeader of The Nationals in the Senate) (15:23): Welcome to the house of Atreus! It is the most bizarre place. I always wanted to know what it was like to live in a Greek tragedy and here we are in the middle of one. It is bizarre; it is the most internecine, crazy place. I now know the Labor Party's policy: you get two for the price of one. If you vote for one Prime Minister, you are bound to get two of them, in every term. Instead of the fortunes of the house of Atreus it is the fortunes of the house of Rudd, the fortunes of the Labor Party.

And now we see all the manifestations of that rather bizarre prototype of a Prime Minister revisiting us. We knew it was getting ugly when we saw Mr Rudd parading through the airport with his sleeping bag. He was obviously a little bit tired—he was going to nod off—so he was parading through the airport with his sleeping bag, just to let you know that he was going to the sleep-out. We all carry our sleeping bags through the airport! I can't get through Canberra Airport without my sleeping bag under my arm! Then, of course, when you are at the sleep-out you must have a media contingent there for when you wake up; it is extremely important. When you wake up and you are putting your teddy bear aside—it is time for Noddy to wake up—you have to have the media there, just to know that, thank the Lord, you are awake! And we are back to the slow walks through the car park, the prophetic glimpses, the sideways looks, the walking with the camera—here comes the bride in the big fluffy white dress!—walking with the camera, walking out the door, walking to the car park, walking to the car. This is the new world—this mad, mad, mad world—that we have returned to. And we are back to 'zipping'. We are zipping here, we are zipping there, we are 'rocking' around the country.

It is not surprising that we not only have a new Prime Minister but that, because of this insanity, as well as losing a Prime Minister, we have also lost a Deputy Prime Minister and a Leader of the Senate—that is the highest office holder, the second-highest office holder and the third-highest office holder, all in one night. That is like the left bower, the right bower and the joker, all gone. And we also lost the defence minister, the minister for agriculture, the minister for communications and the Treasurer. And do we say that this is sanity? Is this what we are offering to the Australian people? 'Buy this product; this one will work.' If you went to your accountancy practice and walked in the door and asked, 'Who are you people?' and they said, 'We just decided last night to change everybody' you would say: 'Give me all the books back. See you later.' If you went into your dentist and all of a sudden there was this manic confusion and change of staff as they pulled out the drill to stick it in your mouth, you would get out of there toute de suite. But these people are not your dentists, these people are not your accountants; they are actually running the country—well, actually we do not know who is running the country. Maybe Lord Howes is running the country. Who would know?

The next thing, of course, is: when is the election? Have we noted that Mr Zip Zip has decided that he is not quite zipping to an election? No, he is going to wait a little while. I can see that happening, because he wants to go back to the Lodge. It is merely weeks, and he wants to go back there; he is moving the furniture back in. But don't worry: he will be sustained on a regular diet of airline food as he goes to every sundry country in the world twice before the election, just to make sure that we have the people of Lesotho onside, just to make sure we are moving the dynamics of things in the Laotian jungles, just to make sure peace reigns in Cyprus. We will have the Prime Minister of Australia, for these last few weeks, in every far-flung corner of the world, giving us press conferences telling us about the importance of the things he is doing. Meanwhile, back in Australia, we head towards $370 billion in gross debt, unemployment rises and we have the crash in the cattle market. Meanwhile back in Australia, chaos reigns.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I will put the question that the motion moved by Senator Abetz be agreed to.

Question agreed to.