House debates

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Matters of Public Importance


3:57 pm

Photo of Graham PerrettGraham Perrett (Moreton, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

But not deliberately. It was a very harmonious place, where people, irrespective of the party they came from, would go down and play touch football together. From 24 November the member for Warringah said he would not play touch football anymore. Then in the 43rd Parliament it changed again. He has actually frowned upon people even playing touch football together. So that has evaporated.

What are the other things? I notice a member from the Labor Party on the Speakers' panel. The member for Warringah said, 'No member of the Liberal and National parties will be a member of the Speaker's panel, apart from the member for Maranoa.' He ordered that they would not contribute to the democratic process, thus on one level saying, 'We support the democratic process,' but on the very other giving specific direction that undermines the political process.

Let us look at some of those other white-anting processes—not just removing people from the panel and not just removing people from participating in sports but saying no to everything in the legislative program. If you look at the percentage of votes in the 42nd Parliament where we had unanimous support from the parliament compared to the 43rd Parliament, it has gone down 10 per cent to 15 per cent. All those common-sense pieces of legislation that parliament just grinds out, irrespective of who is in power—which parties are on which side of the chamber—the member for Warringah has made it specific, has made it clear, has given directions to the Liberal and National parties that 'No!' is the starting point for any piece of legislation and then negotiations occur from there. What are the ramifications of that? That means that someone who has a sick child cannot even get a pair to go and see their kid. He has been white-anting democracy throughout—ever since 1 December but particularly since that election in 2010.

Why is that so? Maybe he has to examine his own soul in terms of the trap that he has laid for Australian democracy. Because he has such a naked desire to grab power at any cost, he has betrayed Australian democracy. Maybe that is something that happens. We are not dissimilar in age. Maybe as he is getting on in years he thinks: 'This is my chance. This is the time for me to make a mark on the world stage or the Australian stage'—or whatever stage he thinks he is strutting on. The reality is that he is prepared to do anything and bring down Australian democracy in that process—and to do so in a way which is so hypocritical. On the one hand he says, 'Oh, no, we are very bipartisan,' but at the very same time he is putting dog whistles out there in the community, sending out his spear throwers to attack great Australian institutions like the Public Service. Things that are normally supported in a bipartisan approach, this member for Warringah has undermined. He has undermined those democratic processes.

We all know that saying about power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely. That is what we are staring at—the fact that we might be contemplating on 14 September. Imagine a leader of the government, a leader of this nation, who is prepared to do anything to gain power. If you do not have the moral compass, if you do not have a soul that dictates what you do, then you are a rudderless person. You are unable to make the correct decision, the moral decision, the right decision—the decision in the nation's interest. This 'hate song of J Alfred Prufrock' that we have been hearing since election day from the member for Warringah has, I think, created a festering in Australian democracy, and it will come home to roost if on 14 September the Leader of the Opposition is made the leader of the government—and heaven help us if that does take place. (Time expired)


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