House debates

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Statements by Members

Liberal Party of Australia

1:58 pm

Photo of Michelle RowlandMichelle Rowland (Greenway, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Communications) Share this | | Hansard source

More sordid details have emerged today about the backdoor kingmakers of the Liberal Party, who apparently determine who sits in parliament. The Australian notes their strategy was 'based on skin colour, gender, ethnicity and religious beliefs', set out in a document containing claims that are 'scurrilous and unprintable' relating to the private lives and health problems of MPs. I reflect on the Prime Minister's response to just one particular aspect, the revelations of Liberal Party operatives using an unrepeatable, degrading term to describe people of Indian background. I thought I'd seen this behaviour before from the Liberals. Sure enough, there were headlines from June last year where the same offensive term was used at their state council meeting. And further back in 2018, there was another report of the same racist term being used by the Liberals in their branch stacking follies. If there are people in the Prime Minister's party who clearly have form in such disgraceful behaviour, where was the disciplinary action then and where is it now? I'll tell you. It doesn't exist. Apparently it's all an organisational matter for the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party, according to the Prime Minister—except it's not. It's a test of how the Liberal Party perceives Australians of Indian background—and people of Indian background are now our largest source of permanent migration. It's a test of leadership over gestures. It's a test that this Prime Minister has failed.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

In accordance with standing order 43, the time for members' statements has concluded.