Always keen to say others should assume responsibility, particularly me. Well can anybody remind me if the Leader of the Opposition has taken any responsibility for the conduct of the Sydney Young Liberals and the attendance at this event of members of his frontbench? Has he taken any responsibility for the conduct of members of his political party and members of his frontbench, who apparently when the most vile things were being said about my family raised no voice of objection.
DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!
JULIA GILLARD: No one walked out of the room, no one walked up to Mr Jones and said that this was not acceptable. Instead, of course, it was all viewed as good fun — until it was run in a Sunday newspaper, and then the Leader of the Opposition and others started ducking for cover.
Big on lectures of responsibility, very light on accepting responsibility himself for the vile conduct of members of his political party.
Third, Ms Deputy Speaker, why the Leader of the Opposition should not be taken seriously on this motion. The Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition have come into this place and have talked about the member for Fisher.
Well let me remind the opposition, and the Leader of the Opposition particularly, about their track record and association with the member for Fisher.
I remind them that the National Party preselected the member for Fisher for the 1984 election, that the National Party preselected the member for Fisher for the 1987 election, that the Liberal Party preselected Mr. Fisher for the 1993 election, then for the 1996 election, then for the 1998 election, then for the 2001 election, then for the 2004 election, then for the 2007 election and then for the 2010 election.
And across many of those preselections Mr Slipper enjoyed the personal support of the Leader of the Opposition. I remind the Leader of the Opposition that on the 28th of September 2010, following the last election campaign when Mr Slipper was elected as Deputy Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition at that stage said this, and I quote; he referred to the member for Maranoa, who was also elected to a position at the same time, and then went on as follows:
‘… and the member for Fisher will serve as a fine complement to the member for Scullin in the chair. I believe that the parliament will be well served by the team which will occupy the chair in this chamber … I congratulate the member for Fisher, who has been a friend of mine for a very long time, who has served this parliament in many capacities with distinction …’
The words of the Leader of the Opposition on record about his personal friendship with Mr Slipper and on record about his view about Mr Slipper’s qualities and attributes to be the Speaker. No walking away from those words — they were the statements of the Leader of the Opposition then.
I remind the Leader of the Opposition, who now comes in here and speaks about Mr Slipper and apparently his inability to work with or talk to Mr Slipper, I remind the Leader of the Opposition, he attended Mr Slipper’s wedding.
Did he walk up to Mr Slipper in the middle of the service and say he was disgusted to be there? Was that the attitude he took? No, he attended that wedding as a friend.
The Leader of the Opposition, keen to lecture others about what they ought to know or did know about Mr Slipper but, with respect, I would say to the Leader of the Opposition after a long personal association, including attending Mr Slipper’s wedding, it would be interesting to know whether the Leader of the Opposition was surprised by these text messages. He is certainly in a position to speak more intimately about Mr Slipper than I am and many other people in this parliament, given this long personal association.
Then, of course, the Leader of the Opposition comes into this place and says, and I quote: “Every day the Prime Minister stands in this parliament to defend this Speaker will be another day of shame for this parliament; another day of shame for a government which should already have died of shame.”
Well, can I indicate to the Leader of the Opposition, the government is not dying of shame, my father did not die of shame. What the Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this parliament and the sexism he brings with it.
Now, about the text messages that are on the public record…
JENNY MACKLIN: You used those words. It is a quote.
JULIA GILLARD: That is a direct quote from the Leader of the Opposition, so I suggest those groaning have a word with him.
On the conduct of Mr Slipper and on the text messages that are in the public domain – I have seen the press reports of those text messages, I am offended by their content.
I am offended by their content because I am always offended by sexism. I am offended by their content because I am always offended by statements that are anti-women.
I am offended by those things in the same way I have been offended by things that the Leader of the Opposition has said, and no doubt will continue to say in the future, because if this, today, was an exhibition of his new feminine side, well I don’t think we have got much to look forward to in terms of changed conduct.
I am offended by those text messages. But I also believe, in terms of this parliament, making a decision about the speakership, that his parliament should recognize that there is court case in progress, that the judge has reserved his decision, that having waited for a number of months for the legal matters surrounding Mr Slipper to come to a conclusion, that this parliament should see that conclusion.