Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Questions without Notice

Liberal Party Leadership

2:45 pm

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr President, my question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Payne. In an interview on 2GB radio yesterday, when asked whether she supports Prime Minister Turnbull, Minister Bishop said: 'I certainly believe that Malcolm Turnbull will lead us to the next election. He has my support as leader.' Given that media speculation about a leadership challenge against Prime Minister Turnbull has been building since Friday, why did it take four days for the deputy Liberal leader and Minister for Foreign Affairs to express support for Prime Minister Turnbull?

2:46 pm

Photo of Marise PayneMarise Payne (NSW, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

As Senator McCarthy said herself, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and Minister for Foreign Affairs said the Prime Minister has her support. She made her position perfectly clear.

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Minister Bishop was asked whether she would serve as deputy leader to a Prime Minister Dutton. Minister Bishop did not rule it out. Why did the minister fail to rule out serving as deputy leader to a Prime Minister Dutton?

2:47 pm

Photo of Marise PayneMarise Payne (NSW, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

As even those opposite should have worked out by now, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and Minister for Foreign Affairs was unanimously returned as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and therefore the Minister for Foreign Affairs. There is no question to answer in terms of Senator McCarthy's proposition.

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

Senator McCarthy, a final supplementary question.

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Will Minister Bishop stand up for her leader, Prime Minister Turnbull, or is she keeping her options open to serve as deputy to a fifth leader?

Photo of Marise PayneMarise Payne (NSW, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

As I said and will repeat, Minister Bishop has absolutely affirmed her support for Prime Minister Turnbull. She has been re-elected unopposed by the Liberal Party party room. That is her firm position and the one that I know she will continue to prosecute.