Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. I refer to the Prime Minister's intervention to save the preselection of the Liberal member for Hughes, Craig Kelly, and reports that the Prime Minister's staff and lieutenants were lobbying to save Mr Kelly, with one member of the New South Wales Liberal Party executive declaring the decision to save Mr Kelly had come after pressure from the PM. On what basis did Mr Morrison decide to intervene to save Mr Kelly's preselection?
The Prime Minister made it no secret that he supported the re-endorsement of four incumbent Liberal members of the House of Representatives in the great state of New South Wales. That is not something that is unprecedented in parties on either side of politics. I'm intrigued that the Labor Party has nothing better to ask about. Why don't you ask questions about the economy? Why don't you ask questions about jobs? Why don't you ask questions about our national security? Why don't you ask questions about health, education, immigration or the National Disability Insurance Scheme? Why are you so obsessed with our navel? Why are you so obsessed with navel gazing and our navel?
I mean, honestly! Ask questions about policy rather than questions about the internal Canberra bubble. Quite frankly, Mr Shorten has a track record of intervening in preselections all around the place. I wonder why he didn't intervene in the preselection of Emma Husar? What happened to Emma Husar? We know that Emma Husar turned on him quite spectacularly yesterday—
One could say that if you had a policy we could ask a question about it! But what I'm actually raising, Mr President, is a point of order on direct relevance. This is all very interesting, but has nothing to do with the question: why did he intervene to save Mr Kelly's preselection?
I refer to Senator Molan, who, after being rolled in his preselection battle, has declared, 'I believe I will see the Prime Minister later this week.' Given the Prime Minister has intervened to save Craig Kelly, whose greatest achievement is destroying the government's energy policy, will Mr Morrison also intervene to save Senator Molan, a man who has served his own country?
Honourable senators interjecting—
The Prime Minister, of course, holds Senator Molan in very high regard, and I can confirm that the Prime Minister has regular meetings with Senator Molan. But I think the breaking news today is that the Labor Party is preparing to write a reference for Senator Molan, which I'm sure—
Thank you very much, Mr President. I know that the Labor Party doesn't quite understand how democracy works, but Senator Molan is an endorsed Liberal candidate for the Senate at the next election. Of course, now that we've got Senator Wong and Senator Cameron and all the other Labor senators explaining what a great senator he is for the great state of New South Wales, I think you should join us in the campaign in New South Wales to ensure we get four Liberal-National senators elected at the next election. I am pleased that we are on a unity ticket between the Labor and the Liberal-National Parties to that effect. I'm waiting— (Time expired)
Honourable senators interjecting—
Senator Molan has declared, 'All options are available to me'. Given Mr Morrison capitulated to Craig Kelly's threat to resign from the Liberal Party and tear down the government, what options should Senator Molan pursue to save himself?