Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Questions without Notice
Members of Parliament: Conduct
My question is to the minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. Last night, the Liberal member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis, told the House of Representatives about the Liberal Party's culture of 'bullying, betrayal and back stabbing'. In response, the Liberal Party's vice-president says that some women just need to 'suck it up'. Does the Prime Minister think that telling women to 'suck it up' is an appropriate response to complaints of bullying and intimidation?
As I've said on a number of occasions now over the last sitting fortnight, there is no place for bullying—not in this workplace, not on building sites around Australia, not anywhere—and that is very much the position of the Prime Minister, that is the position of the government, that is the position of every Liberal and National senator representing in this chamber. I'm obviously aware of the statements that Ann Sudmalis, the member for Gilmore has made, and the Prime Minister has engaged with Ann Sudmalis, as he engages with all of his colleagues in relation to these sorts of matters, and will continue to address issues as appropriate.
This morning, Prime Minister Morrison was asked about the Liberal Party's vice-president's advice to women to 'suck it up'. Why, given your answer, did the Prime Minister fail to condemn this statement?
The Labor Party can continue to focus on the internals of the Liberal Party. We'll continue to focus on Australia's national interests. We'll continue to focus on making the Australian economy stronger and making sure Australians are safe and making sure we can keep Australians together. We let the Labor Party play politics and stay in the Canberra bubble. We focus on Australia's national interests, on the interests of families around Australia and, of course, we will continue to deal with our internal matters as appropriate.
The Liberal Party's vice-president is telling women to 'suck it up' and Craig Kelly thinks women need to 'roll with the punches'. When will the Prime Minister take personal responsibility for dealing with the Liberal Party's culture of bullying, betrayal and back-stabbing?
I'm not sure that we have any lessons to take from the Labor Party. When it comes to bullying and back-stabbing, let me tell you: the Labor Party's right up there. We've got to remember, we've got the Leader of the Labor Party, Mr Shorten, who was at the scene of the crime, not for one but for two leadership challenges. Oh, here we go.
Mr President, this question goes to the Prime Minister's failure to condemn state—
Government senators interjecting—
The point of order is direct relevance. I thank you for your continued advice. This question goes to the Prime Minister's leadership, when women are told to suck it up and roll with the punches when they complain. I, for one, think there should be an answer.
I have answered this question several times over. I have made the point several times now: there is no place for bullying. We are involved in a parliamentary democracy. There are occasions, when people seek to persuade each other on the merits of their arguments on policy and personnel, where things can become a bit robust and willing. Always, when we seek to persuade each other of the merits of our arguments, it ought to be done with courtesy and respect, and you will find that is a point I have made many times over the last few weeks. With that, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.