Liberal Double Standards - one rule for them, a different rule for everyone else

Today we sit in this place on the last sitting day of this week of parliament and what a week it has been. We have seen this week the blatant display of the absolute double standard of the government in how they apply rules when they are involved, as opposed to how they apply rules when ordinary constituents in my electorate are affected. We started this week on Monday with the most extraordinary outcome of the parliament having to unanimously carry a motion to refer the Deputy Prime Minister of this nation to the High Court for a determination on whether he is actually eligible to sit in this place. The rules in that circumstance are in the Constitution. The Deputy Prime Minister said, when he was happy to jump on the bandwagon on the back of Greens senators having to resign: 'They are black and white. It's just sloppiness that would mean that you weren't complying with them.'      

Now, when he himself is caught up in this situation, it's a different situation. We have heard that there's a problem with the rules. They aren't really reflective of what they should be. We've heard that there's a problem with how you interpret those rules. We've heard that perhaps he didn't actually know about the rule or the circumstance in which he found himself. Of course, we have heard the perennial final excuse by this government—it's all Labor's fault. Somehow this extraordinarily unprecedented and ridiculous situation they have got themselves in is all Labor's fault.               

The Deputy Prime Minister at the very least should have stood aside from his executive positions, as Senator Canavan did, because the outcome of his continuing in that role with the situation in the House of Representatives with a one-seat majority has been that we have seen legislation pass that has directly affected constituents in my electorate. Let's not talk about all of those constituents who this government sent threatening and distressing letters to about their compliance with Centrelink requirements, the vast majority of whom were found to have complied with the rules. It was okay to come down like a ton of bricks on them in those circumstances, but it's a different set of rules when government members are involved.              

Let's not forget that one of those one-vote majority votes took penalty rates off people in my electorate. Over 10,000 of them lost their penalty rates on one vote. The government continue to say that they can operate without complying with the rules in a way that they never extend to ordinary people like my constituents.