House debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2018


Prime Minister

2:09 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

I seek leave to move the following motion:

That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Leave not granted.

I move:

That so much of standing orders be suspended as would prevent the Member for Maribyrnong from moving this motion forthwith:

That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Today Australia has a Prime Minister in name only—a Prime Minister without power and a Prime Minister without policies. This is an appalling outcome for the nation. Unbelievably—after yesterday, when we saw how divided the government were—they are more divided today than they were yesterday. The conduct of this narcissistic government is both shocking and selfish, and undervalues the Australian people. This House should vote for no confidence because the Prime Minister has no authority, no power and no policies. The reason for that sits behind him. If nearly half of his own government do not want him to be the Prime Minister of Australia, why should the rest of Australia have to put up with him?

The case for no confidence in the Prime Minister has five points to it. First, if the Prime Minister's own party does not want him—and today nearly half of his party voted against him remaining Prime Minister—why should the parliament put up with him? The second reason, of course, as we saw yesterday, is the dismal paralysis on policies to lower energy prices and to tackle climate change. They cannot pass the parliament because this Prime Minister does not have the confidence of all of his backbench. Thirdly, this Prime Minister has never seen a fight for his principles that he hasn't squibbed and he has notoriously poor judgement, which his backbench and frontbench are willing to tell any journalist, anonymously, at any time. Fourthly—and even more importantly than the first three reasons—this Prime Minister and his government are ignoring the real challenges of the Australian people, and it means we can have no confidence in him. Finally, the reason why this parliament should have no confidence in the Prime Minister is there are divisions at the heart of this government which cannot be papered over by simply changing the salesman for this government.

Turning to the first case for why we should have no confidence in the Prime Minister, we saw remarkable scenes today. Yesterday the former Minister for Home Affairs said he supported the Prime Minister—until today. But, more than just his challenge to the Prime Minister, there is the fact that another 34 of his colleagues, within 24 hours of the Prime Minister spilling his own position, wanted him gone. This government has lost the will to live. Indeed, what is more significant is that some of the people who voted against the Prime Minister still sit in the executive of this parliament.

Opposition members interjecting


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