Question Time: ScoMo lashed over rogue MP

Scott Morrison has been attacked over his handling of rogue MP Craig Kelly.

The Hughes MP made a shock resignation from the Liberal Party on Tuesday, citing an inability to speak out and represent his electorate.

Mr Kelly, who was reprimanded by the Prime Minister for spruiking coronavirus conspiracy theories, did not attend question time.

Mr Morrison spent most of the session with his mouth downturned, shuffling papers and looking at his phone.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese grilled the Prime Minister about Mr Kelly, casting aspersions about Mr Morrison’s judgment.

But Mr Morrison was quick to hit back.

“If the Leader of the Opposition is feeling so confident about the performance of his opposition, well perhaps he would like to bring on a motion,” he said.

Earlier in the day, a government source said Mr Kelly’s resignation was sparked by his failure to sack a staffer facing multiple accusations of inappropriate behaviour towards women in the workplace, according to Sky News.

Mr Kelly flatly rejected the claim, saying the “two were not connected”.

However, Mr Albanese used the claims as ammunition, quoting Mr Morrison as saying the matter was drawn to his attention weeks ago.

“Did the Prime Minister at a press conference less than one hour ago say, ‘I have long expressed my concerns to Mr Kelly about that staff member.’ Why didn’t he do something about it given the powerful position that he holds?” Mr Albanese asked.

But Mr Morrison accused the opposition of “conflating two different matters”.

“There is the long-held concerns that I have had about the performance of a staff member in the member for Hughes group’s office,” he said.

“That is based on the fact that my electorate adjoins the member for Hughes, and they relate to performance measures.

“He undertook to make certain actions, and he took the decision.”

It was only after he was questioned by the opposition about Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape that he fired up after an incorrect assertion that a review into workplace culture at parliament had been canned.

“That is not what happened,” Mr Morrison said.

“I asked the member for Curtin to engage with our party room on the process, to look at these matters and issues within our party room. I remember on the same day saying perhaps the Labor Party would like to do the same thing in theirs.”

As he answered another question about the handling of Ms Higgins’ alleged rape, Mr Morrison, repeatedly tapped the despatch box with a clenched fist.

Mr Morrison said he had been open about his “displeasure” that he was not advised about the incident until three days after questions were put to his office.

“That is an unsatisfactory response from my office. I have been open and clean about that matter,” he said.

“I believe there is an issue to address regarding the culture of the workplace of this parliament.”

However, he said the appropriate place for matters of sexual assault to be dealt with was “by the police and in the courts”.

“They are the proper places where investigations should be undertaken and that is the process that I support,” he told the parliament.

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