House debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Statements by Members

Parliamentary Behaviour

1:34 pm

Photo of John AlexanderJohn Alexander (Bennelong, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

King Solomon was brought a baby and asked to judge which one of the two women was its mother. He suggested cutting the baby in half. One woman was happy to see it divided, out of spite, at the cost of its life, while the other, true mother begged for the baby's life, even if it meant giving it to her rival.

This parliament is in a time of conflict—no-one can deny that. We are rife with division that is splitting this room irrevocably, and the baby is divided in two. I'm not talking here today to advocate for one side or the other, but this room seems to be full of people happy with division, happy with confrontation and ambivalent on the cutting up of this country into antagonistic groups.

Yesterday in question time, we saw some of the most inappropriate and uncivilised behaviour that I've been a party to. Our friends opposite were jeering and, I'm sad to say, we rose to the bait. Leaders who foster division will lead to further division in this room and across the nation. Our leader must be a peacemaker. United we will stand, divided we will fall and our country will suffer. We all have to go back to our electorates on Friday. We all have to face our constituents. Let's think about those who voted for us here before we resume this brawl.