Wednesday, 24 November 2021
While Senator Cormann was the Leader of the Government in the Senate, quite often I would attend citizenship ceremonies and I would point out what a terrific thing it was in our country that both the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate were born overseas yet came to this country and managed to reach two of the highest political positions in this country. I would use that as an example of what a special country we are. You can come from all over the world, from places where political violence is endemic, where people are discriminated against, persecuted and put in jail simply for their political beliefs.
Yet, from those who are moving this motion here today, who are 'seeking to unite'—that's what they say they're doing—all we hear is a torrent of abuse, questioning of our Prime Minister's motives and general reflections upon all government members. Is that how you seek to unite? If you were bona fide about uniting the people of this country, would you do it by attacking in a very personal way the Prime Minister of this country? No, you would not.
We didn't hear, from Senator Keneally, Lincoln's first inaugural speech, appealing to the 'better angels' of our character—absolutely not. We heard a torrent of personal abuse directed against our Prime Minister. That's what we heard from Senator Keneally. Senator Keneally is not seeking to unite Australians. She's seeking to leverage off a straw man she's constructed in order to attack our Prime Minister. That is what she's doing through the course of this motion. She's not seeking to unite Australians.
Senator Faruqi—through you, Mr Acting Deputy President—I'm extraordinarily disappointed with the broad-ranging assertions you cast upon all government members. Can I say to you: I've attended mosques which have been graffitied and which have been attacked. I've attended those mosques with other people of my party and stood with those people in the face of discrimination and in the face of persecution. It is very, very disappointing that, again, in seeking to unite us, you come in here and seek to tar everyone on this side of the chamber with the same brush. This is how you seek to unite?
Listen to it now. Listen to the interjections from Senator Thorpe. Is that how you seek to unite, Senator Thorpe? You're bringing us together with your considered interjections!
Senator McKim, you're going to seek to unite us as well by attacking me, as I draw to this place's attention the fact that, by the very motion you're seeking to unite us with, you are dividing us. You are dividing us. You are playing politics. You've constructed a straw man and then you've sought to conflate—
Honourable senators interjecting—
Here they are. They're uniting us!