Monday, 20 August 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. Last week Senator Cormann sought to reassure the Senate about Minister Dutton's support for the government's policies, saying, 'Don't you worry about my friend Peter.' Reports this morning indicate that 'Peter Dutton is entertaining the prospect of a challenge.' Has the minister told the Prime Minister not to worry about his friend Peter?
I can confirm to the chamber that Peter Dutton is indeed my friend. I can also confirm to the chamber what I said to the chamber last week: it is well known that, for a number of years now, at every day at 5.30 in the morning we meet in the ministerial basement car park and we walk up Red Hill. Every now and then we run into some Labor senators. I think Senator Gallacher used to be accompanied by Senator Sterle, but I think Senator Sterle has dropped off in more recent times—which he confirms! What I can also confirm for the chamber is that Minister Dutton supports the policies of the government. That is what comes with the territory when you are a minister. As a minister, you support the policies of the government, and I don't have any reason to believe otherwise.
In an article this morning, entitled 'PM's Leadership on knife edge', The Australian reported:
… a number of MPs called Home Affairs Minister and leading Queensland conservative Peter Dutton at the weekend to pledge support should he seek to challenge Mr Turnbull.
Has the minister discussed these reports with his friend Peter?
Let me just say right up-front that, like all of us in the cabinet, I support Prime Minister Turnbull 100 per cent. I think it would not pass the believability test if I said in this chamber that I did not have conversations with my colleagues on current affairs. So let me confirm to the chamber that, as a senior member of the Turnbull government and as a senior member of the Turnbull government who fully supports the Prime Minister, of course I engage with my colleagues as appropriate in relation to current matters.