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Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Page: 9213

Turnbull Government


Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:48): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. Yesterday, the Leader of the House, Mr Pyne, said that disunity is death. In response, veteran New South Wales senator John Williams said, 'Tell someone who cares.' Does the Prime Minister agree with Mr Pyne that disunity is death?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:49): The Prime Minister and Mr Pyne always find themselves in agreement.


Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:49): Nationals MP Mr Broad has said that there has been a complete lack of leadership from the Prime Minister, a view supported by his colleague Mr Christensen, who suggested that a true leader would act differently to Mr Turnbull. Does the Prime Minister retain the confidence of all members of the joint coalition party room?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:49): The answer to the last part of the question is absolutely yes. In relation to Mr Broad, I'm not in the habit of following Mr Broad's observations. But I'll tell you what true leadership looks like, Senator McAllister. It means leading a government that has been responsible for the greatest level of job creation, in 2017, at any time since before the GFC. That is what true leadership looks like, and that is what the Turnbull government has achieved. I'll tell you what else true leadership looks like. It means keeping Australians safe and keeping our borders secure. That's what true leadership looks like, and that's what the government of Malcolm Turnbull has achieved. It also, by the way, means being responsible for the breakthrough social change on which this chamber voted on earlier in the day, something the Labor Party didn't do a thing about for six years. That's what leadership looks like.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McAllister, a final supplementary question.



Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:50): Can the minister assure the Senate that no steps have been taken to revisit the Liberal-National coalition agreement made between Mr Joyce and Mr Turnbull in 2016?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:51): No. But you asked me about leadership, so let me just dwell a little further on what true leadership looks—

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator McAllister?

Senator McAllister: I just wish for the Attorney to clarify his answer. I asked a fairly direct question, and I believe he said 'no'. Can you just confirm that?

Senator BRANDIS: Can you put the question again?

Senator McAllister: Certainly I can. Can the minister assure the Senate that no steps have been taken to revisit the Liberal-National coalition agreement made between Mr Joyce and Mr Turnbull in 2016?

Senator BRANDIS: No steps have been taken, and, yes, I can assure the Senate, if that makes it clearer for you, Senator McAllister. But I wonder if I might return to your first supplementary question about true leadership. Let me dwell on the point that I was making when time ran out a moment ago. We have today celebrated a great thing in Australia, and all but a few of our colleagues have come together to support marriage equality. It happened because Mr Turnbull provided the leadership to do it. No previous Australian Prime Minister—not Mr Howard, not Mr Rudd, not Ms Gillard and not Mr Abbott—has supported or prosecuted this cause. It took the Turnbull government to do it. That's what true leadership looks like too, Senator McAllister.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order, on my left.