This is a grave motion, and I don’t take this debate lightly. Every parliament is charged with enormous responsibility. Prime ministers and ministers carry more responsibility than many of the rest of us. Every parliament faces a set of circumstances under which they must operate, and there’s no question that the former parliament found itself with many extraordinary circumstances. But with those came an even greater responsibility to ensure that our nation, our parliament and our people understood exactly what was going on. The greatest responsibility any parliament has is to maintain the trust of the people who put us here. It’s essential to the integrity of what we do, it’s essential to the integrity of high office, and what maintains trust is often not a matter of law; it’s a norm. That’s why, while changing the law may mean that we don’t face this particular loophole again, it doesn’t negate the importance of recording for history standing up for the people of Australia and standing up for the conventions and honour of this parliament to move a censure motion on the former Prime Minister, the member for Cook, when there has been such a substantial breach of trust for the parliament, for us as parliamentarians, for his own ministers, for his own party, but most importantly for the people of Australia.

I listened carefully to what the member for Cook had to say this morning, and I found nothing in his explanation that could negate the need for this censure motion today. It is a strong motion, and history will record it so. I support the motion. It gives me no joy to do so. I feel sadness and disappointment that we are moved to have to do this. But the report of former Justice Bell and her conclusions that the actions and failures of the member for Cook were to undermine public trust and confidence are so serious that I must support this motion. I’m compelled to do so, and I say to this House that I hope we never have to face a situation like this again. I give my support to this motion.

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