Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. This morning the Prime Minister spoke glowingly of his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, saying, 'I have no doubt Malcolm will represent Australian government policy and the Australian nation extremely well.' As the Prime Minister clearly thinks so highly of his predecessor, would he please finally tell the Australian people: why is Malcolm Turnbull no longer the Prime Minister of Australia?
I thank the member for his question about the former Prime Minister's attendance at the summit in Bali. Eight weeks ago when I met with President Widodo, he indicated to me that the former Prime Minister had expressed his willingness to attend that summit. This is an important summit, both for Indonesia and more broadly, about the future of our oceans. I was unable to attend that summit because of my other commitments, and we discussed the issue, President Widodo and I, and we thought it would be a good opportunity if the former Prime Minister were able to attend that summit, given their very strong, close working relationship.
I will always put the diplomatic and national interest of Australia ahead of any other considerations. What I will do is act in the national interest of Australia, and I look forward to the former Prime Minister being able to represent us on that occasion. The decision was taken weeks and weeks ago. I believe it was the right decision for Australia and I will continue to work constructively with former prime ministers, whether they continue to be in this chamber—the member for Warringah, who's doing a terrific job out there working hard on getting Indigenous children into schools. I was very pleased to welcome the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard to this chamber this week, and I'm very pleased that she has been here today and has been recognised with the unveiling of her portrait here in the House.
But I remember this is what was said in Paul Kelly's Triumph and Demise about what two former Prime Ministers thought of the Leader of the Opposition: 'The distrust between Rudd and Shorten was intense and enduring. The Gillard camp was contemptuous of Shorten, considering him weak and duplicitous. Neither side trusted him and neither side revised its view.' How insightful!
Opposition members interjecting—
Government members interjecting—