‘So precious’: PM attacks Labor MP
Scott Morrison has launched a vicious personal attack on Labor's treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers accusing him of having a massive ego and being a crybaby who once wept in the office of Kevin Rudd.
In another sign the Prime Minister believes Labor leader Anthony Albanese could be replaced as leader next year, the Prime Minister has launched an extraordinary attack on Dr Chalmers, a potential future leader who recently underwent surgery for skin cancer.
The Prime Minister started by referring to Dr Chalmers as the shadow "Trevor" instead of the shadow Treasurer.
"I'm terribly sorry, Mr Speaker, I mispronounced the shadow Treasurer's name. That must be such an offence to him,'' he said.
"He is so precious. This is the same shadow Treasurer … who cried in Kevin Rudd's office Mr Speaker, we know how sensitive he is."
As Dr Chalmers smiled and shook his head, Mr Morrison continued.
"We know how sensitive he is, but coming back to the serious issue, not the ego of the member for Rankin, Mr Speaker, which has its own reputation. Our industrial relations reforms are about getting Australians back into jobs."
The claim that Dr Chalmers once cried in Mr Rudd's office, which he denies, was first made in the former Prime Minister's memoir.
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In the book, Mr Rudd claims Dr Chalmers pleaded for his job after it became clear that Mr Rudd was poised to return to the leadership.
He had accused Dr Chalmers of writing a blistering assessment of his leadership for Wayne Swan when he worked in his office.
"I concluded by asking Chalmers what he would do if he were in my circumstances right then. Chalmers wasn't expecting that question," Mr Rudd recounts.
"He paused. He cried again. And said, 'I probably wouldn't have me in the caucus.'
"Chalmers thanked me for his preselection. He never thanked me for winning his seat for him, which was gone by a million under Gillard. Indeed, I never heard from Chalmers again after I'd left the Parliament."
Dr Chalmers has previously denied crying in Mr Rudd's office.
The Prime Minister suggested it was only the "force field" of Kevin Rudd's leadership rule changes that protected him.
"The rules make it tougher to roll a sitting MP, because they need to secure a super majority of 60 per cent even to hold a ballot and the membership needs to vote along with the parliamentary wing of the Parliament.
"But I understand the Leader of the Opposition's affection for Mr Rudd because he has the Rudd force field around him in the protections that were put in place to keep this Leader of the Opposition in his job. Lucky Albo.'' the PM said.
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The blow up in Parliament started after the Prime Minister was forced to apologise to the PM for falsely claiming he had sought a special exemption to fly overseas. In fact, Mr Rudd had never left Australia.
"So, Mr Speaker, I am happy to apologise to Mr Rudd. I was otherwise informed and I happily correct … very happily correct the record to Mr Rudd,'' the Prime Minister said.
"I am always happy to treat former prime ministers with the utmost of respect and they deserve that respect."
However, Mr Morrison continued by adding the purpose of his sledge was actually to attack Labor's deputy leader Richard Marles.
"I was making a reflection on the Deputy Leader of the Opposition who sought to come into this place and attack another former prime minister in Mr Abbott … who it turns out was one of more than 95,000 people who received independent exemptions to leave the country,'' he said.
"And if Mr Rudd indeed wished to leave the country and he sought to make such an application for an exemption, I have no doubt he would be treated with the same independence that former prime minister Mr Abbott was treated with by the Border Force commissioner."
Originally published as 'So precious': PM attacks Labor MP