Senate debates

Thursday, 30 November 2017


Dastyari, Senator Sam

12:50 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

I think I'll be the only opposition speaker on this. We're happy to proceed with voting and with dealing with this. I just want to make this point: (1) Senator Dastyari has already made a statement; (2) I am going to be clear publicly what I've also made clear privately to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, that it is the opposition's view that if there is an appropriate inquiry that the government believes Senator Dastyari should be cooperating with then he should so cooperate, and I'm sure he would so do.

Instead of going down that path of an appropriate inquiry, the government is choosing to engage in what we know is a political stunt, and that is disappointing on such matters. I know the government wants this to be a distraction from the fact that Mr Turnbull has effectively lost control of the government. He has reversed policy in that he has, I think for some 600 days, said that there will be no royal commission into the banks. He has now been driven by Mr Christensen and Senator O'Sullivan to reverse that position. He has backbenchers openly undermining his leadership. And his government is desperately using the issues in relation to Senator Dastyari as a political distraction. I again say: the opposition's view is that, if the government believes that there are matters here that ought be considered and inquired into and puts that reasonably to the opposition, then a reasonable inquiry would be cooperated with. This is not such a reasonable inquiry. This is a political stunt, and I think everybody understands that.


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