Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Questions without Notice

Liberal Party Leadership

2:21 pm

Photo of Glenn SterleGlenn Sterle (WA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development (Senate)) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. I refer to reports that, following this morning's leadership ballot in the Liberal party room, Prime Minister Turnbull is considering calling an election rather than risk another challenge. Are these reports accurate?

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

No.

2:22 pm

Photo of Glenn SterleGlenn Sterle (WA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development (Senate)) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes, I do have another one, thank you, Mr President. Can the Prime Minister rule out calling an election prior to the next meeting of the Liberal party room?

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

As I indicated to Senator Wong before, we will do you slowly. The next election is not due until the first half of next year.

Opposition Senators:

Opposition senators interjecting

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Order on my left!

Honourable senators interjecting

Order! I will call Senator Sterle when I can hear the question.

Senator Kim Carr interjecting

Senator Carr, you were quiet last week, and you're making up for it today—so please!

Government senators interjecting

On my right! Senator Sterle, a final supplementary question.

2:23 pm

Photo of Glenn SterleGlenn Sterle (WA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development (Senate)) Share this | | Hansard source

In response to reports that Prime Minister Turnbull is considering calling an election rather than risk another challenge, one Liberal backbencher has said, 'Eff me dead; we'll be annihilated!' Does the Prime Minister agree?

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Sterle, while I don't have the rule—

Honourable senators interjecting

Order! While I don't have on me President Parry's ruling regarding the use of unparliamentary language, I will come back to the chamber after I review the transcript, because there was so much noise I couldn't hear it. I'll ask you to continue your question, Senator Sterle, but I'll come back to the chamber when I review the audio because I could not hear it.

Photo of Glenn SterleGlenn Sterle (WA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development (Senate)) Share this | | Hansard source

All right. I just said after that—I was just quoting a backbencher, but I'm just asking the minister: does the Prime Minister agree with that comment from the backbencher?

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

As I've already indicated to the chamber, the election is due in the first half of next year, and that is when I expect it—

Opposition Senators:

Opposition senators interjecting

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

The first half of next year. There's nothing new there. What I would also say when it comes to the timing of elections is that we of course all know that Mr Shorten has been predicting for some time to his party room or his caucus that an election is imminent. Perhaps that helps him with keeping his own support locked away. I remember that he was telling people last year that there would be an election before Christmas, which is, of course, why he didn't let the Australian people know that there were people on his side of the chamber that had problems with their citizenship and section 44. Let me tell you: the election will be at the normal time, as much as Mr Shorten might have wishful thinking of getting to the election sooner rather than later.