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Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Page: 7905


Senator O'SULLIVAN (Queensland) (15:10): It fascinates me that the party of Latham, Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, Shorten and almost Albanese wants to open up a discussion about competency in leadership. Take nothing I say as a reflection on Prime Minister Morrison. Fifteen years you've waited to raise an issue so compelling that it dominates everything in your debate at the moment. It just shows, as is always the case when these lightweight attacks come from the Australian Labor Party, that they've got nothing else substantive to talk about. Question time is that valuable time in this place that allows the opposition—in this case, the Australian Labor Party—to highlight and explore critical issues to this nation around the economy, around social services, around support we're putting in place for agriculture. What do they choose to take that time up with? What do they choose to spend time on in the take note opportunity? They choose such a featherweight issue on events that have not occupied their minds for 13 years and, suddenly, are now writ large.

I'll tell you why they're attacking Prime Minister Morrison. They realise the risk that Mr Shorten and the Labor Party face at the next election on the question of competency. Mr Morrison secured our borders after years and years and years of neglect—hundreds of thousands of arrivals, 1,200 people. It always fascinates me that, when we're talking about matters of national security and security of our borders, the Labor Party never once mentioned that their policy directly led to the loss of life of 1,200 individuals, many of whose names will never be known—men, women and children. And you want to have a discussion about competency? Your current leader was in your leadership team at the time those policies were in place. Prime Minister Morrison came along and fixed it, and fixed it good. He resecured the borders of this nation to this day. We inherited the legacy of Manus and Nauru, and there's an enormous amount of effort put in by you featherweights and those in the Greens to try and plaster this current administration with the event of children in custody in Nauru and the other centre.

So, if you want to have a discussion about competency, I'll have the discussion with you every day, and so will everyone from the coalition. We'll talk about competency to run the economy. The Prime Minister, no matter what happens in the future, will be remembered for arresting the deficiencies that came with the deficits that you left us with—structural deficits that have gone on for years—and future deficits. He will take credit for arresting that and returning us to surplus, along with the efforts of our current leader in the Senate. So, if you want to have a talk about competency in relation to Prime Minister Morrison, we're just the right people. If you want to talk about the honesty of Prime Minister Morrison, let's have a discussion about Shorten and Gillard and all the very dark allegations that remain writ large and have never been answered about their conduct back in the trade union movement—building houses, materials, donations going—

Senator Watt: I thought you weren't going to talk about things from 10 years ago.

Senator O'SULLIVAN: I'll take the interjection from Senator Watt, because I know he's excited. Apparently he had his annual visit to country Australia the other day, as he advised the chamber—he ventured to Nambour.

Senator Watt: It was Moranbah, actually!

Senator O'SULLIVAN: I promise, through you Madam Chair, he would never be game to go to Moranbah without a beard, a false moustache and a big pair of sunglasses, because they would tar and feather him in Moranbah for his resistance to the coal industry. Let me just close: you've come in here every day with your ineffective attacks on the Prime Minister. He will stand up, and we will stand up for him, because we are 100 per cent right.