Speeches

Chumgate 21/2/19

February 21, 2019

(Rankin) (15:22): Honourable members will remember that, when the member for Cook became the Prime Minister, he said that he wanted all Australians to know whose side he was on. Well, Prime Minister, you have ticked that box this week. Every single Australian knows, after the sordid, disgraceful and stinky revelations of the last week, just whose side you're on. And if they didn't know before this week, they certainly know now. This chumgate scandal has now entered a dangerous new phase, which shows that government contracts worth many millions of dollars of taxpayers money are determined in this government on the basis of who owes who in the Liberal Party power broking structure, a dangerous new phase where the finance minister can rewrite the rules of government procurement to ensure not just that Liberal Party companies get a slice of the action but they get the only slice of the action. It is a dangerous new phase, where the Attorney-General puts his hand up to be investigated as well because he seems to have some kind of understanding of what is going on behind the scenes.

Helloworld has turned into a world of pain for this government. In Helloworld, it's entirely normal for the finance minister to rewrite the procurement rules to benefit the company of a Liberal Party donor; in the real world, wages are stagnant. In Helloworld, it's entirely normal for contracts to be handed out on the basis of who owes who in the Liberal Party; in the real world, we have job insecurity and under-employment. Those opposite don't have a clue. They spend all of their time doing insider deals for their rich mates. If those opposite are really serious about ending the age of entitlement, they're going about it all wrong. You said you wanted to end the age of entitlement; you've got a funny way of showing it. The member for Sturt says the ambassador to the US is doing a good job. What he really meant is: this is a tidy little earner for Liberal Party donors, for people who run companies who benefit from these government contracts. When Joe Hockey—

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House, on a point of order.

Mr Pyne: The member for Rankin implied that I was in favour of corruption, and I find that deeply offensive and I expect him to withdraw it.

The SPEAKER: The member for Rankin will withdraw.

Dr CHALMERS: I withdraw. Now, when Joe Hockey hits the fence as the Australian Ambassador to the United States, as he should and will, it doesn't end there. It doesn't end there, because Minister Cormann has shown by rewriting—

Mr Morrison interjecting

Dr CHALMERS: You should sack Hockey. I'm saying you should sack Hockey, sunshine! I'm saying he should be sacked. But, when he is sacked by this Prime Minister, it won't end there, because Minister Cormann should go as well. Minister Cormann has been shown to be the beneficiary of free flights and other freebies while giving big contracts to companies run by Liberal Party donors. This finance minister abolished the travel panel and made sure that all of the travel went through this Liberal Party company.

Instead of the Prime Minister answering in question time—we asked him again and again to give a simple explanation of these very serious issues—he got the member for Sturt to do it. Doesn't that just speak volumes? When asked by the Leader of the Opposition did he support Minister Cormann, he couldn't even answer that basic question. So Minister Cormann has a lot to worry about. All the Prime Minister did when he finally got to his feet was blame the Labor Party and plagiarise Malcolm Turnbull. First he stole Malcolm Turnbull's job and then he stole his jokes! And the rest of Australia wonders why you got rid of Malcolm Turnbull in the first place; you still haven't explained that.

This scandal, as I said, has a long way to run. It won't end with Hockey or Cormann. It will dog those opposite every day until the election, and beyond, because the Australian people do know whose side those opposite are on, and it's not the Australian people's.

WE'LL PUT PEOPLE FIRST