House debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Statements by Members

Morrison Government

1:57 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications) Share this | | Hansard source

The Australian public expects their elected representatives and their government to govern in the national interest, not in their personal or partisan interests. That's why we have checks on the exercise of power in our democracy—to make sure that our leaders, our elected representatives, are working for the people, not for themselves. But the current Prime Minister has contempt for anyone and everything that has the impertinence to question has reign. The Morrison government is so arrogant that it believes it is above the scrutiny of the media, the parliament, question time, Senate estimates and FOI. Even the Prime Minister's own colleagues have told the media on background that they are worried that the Prime Minister is behaving like an emperor.

Yesterday we saw a new low in accountability. Caesar decreed that the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction needn't be accountable to the ministerial standards, despite being under active police investigation. He gagged the Labor leader from debating the minister's conduct in this parliament twice in a day. Then he personally called the New South Wales Police Commissioner about this investigation. The PM is so arrogant that he believes the rules of democratic accountability don't apply to him. He can't bring himself to do the right thing—to act in the national interest, not the partisan interest. He can't bring himself to be the bigger person. He is a pygmy Prime Minister, a tiny Trump who believes anyone who questions him is engaged in a conspiracy against the nation. Leaders who have contempt for public accountability have contempt for the public. The Australian public are entitled to expect the government to do better. (Time expired)