Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bomber vs Ironbar

A FEDERAL Liberal backbencher has called Kim Beazley a "fat so and so" after the Labor leader labelled him "weak" for supporting the Government's immigration laws.

Mr Beazley and West Australian Liberal Wilson Tuckey traded verbal insults, their faces within centimetres of each other, as they arrived at Parliament House in Canberra this morning.
The angry exchange came ahead of today's vote on the Government's controversial migration Bill.

Some rebel Liberal backbenchers are threatening to cross the floor and vote with Labor against the changes.

Mr Tuckey was speaking to reporters as Mr Beazley stood by, waiting for his turn to address the media.

"Oh here's Kim," Mr Tuckey said as he spotted Mr Beazley.

"This is not about Liberals, this is about you mob," he said referring to Labor.

Mr Beazley came within centimetres of Mr Tuckey, telling him to "take your tablets".

"Don't you insult me with tablets," Mr Tuckey shot back.

"I'm asking you why you are defying the Australian people on border protection."

Mr Beazley replied with: "Off you go mate, off you go, off you go mate".

Mr Tuckey refused to move saying he was entitled to stand outside the doors of Parliament.

"Now I'm interviewing you, I'm asking you why your entire party is going to kill off legislation that the Australian people want," Mr Tuckey said.

Mr Beazley said Mr Tuckey was supporting "weak sop legislation".

"Why don't you take your weak, worthless self in there with the weak, worthless piece of legislation," the Labor leader said.

Mr Tuckey fired back angrily: "Don't you call me weak ... you fat so and so."

He then left Mr Beazley to make his morning address to reporters.

Labor's industrial relations spokesman Stephen Smith later said Mr Tuckey's behaviour showed how worried the Liberals were about today's vote.

"It shows how rattled some government members are with Liberals crossing the floor and Nationals running out of dinner parties," he said.

Mr Smith also said rising petrol prices, interest rates, and its workplace laws, were damaging the Government.

"Skyrocketing fuel prices, interest rate hikes and extreme IR changes are seeing government members fray at the edges," he said.

"I wonder whether this is the type of bully-boy behaviour that sensible Liberals who want to cross the floor on a bad immigration Bill are being subjected to?"

Postscript: Despite three Liberals crossing the floor, and one abstaining from the vote, the legislation passed 62-78. Let's hope the Senate show a bit more moral conviction.

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