Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has made a surprise appearance in Federal Parliament to exonerate Homeland Security Minister, Peter Dutton, of any wrongdoing in his handling of information about rape allegations made by a former ministerial staffer.
Senator Reynolds also seemed to suggest that Prime Minister Scott Morrison should fall on his sword over the scandal.
After apparently rising from her Canberra Hospital bed where she was admitted on Wednesday, Senator Reynolds surprised her colleagues and parliamentary observers by delivering a short speech in the Senate late last night. (main picture)
In her brief remarks she rejected claims that Mr Dutton had erred by not informing Mr Morrison directly of information provided by the Australian Federal Police about the alleged rape.
“Minister Dutton has behaved impeccably throughout this entire episode,” Senator Reynolds said in a voice far more husky than usual which staff from Mr Dutton’s office observing the speech attributed to medication she may have been prescribed.
“In fact of all those involved at a ministerial level – or indeed at the prime ministerial level – Peter Dutton has done absolutely the right and proper thing throughout.
“As always in these type of scandals, there is a desire by the public and the media to see a minister accept responsibility for a bungle or cover-up and then resign.
“It is her… I mean, it is me who should be contemplating that action so that the government can put this issue behind it.
“If she…. I mean, if I don’t do that very soon then perhaps someone even higher in the ministerial chain of command – maybe even right near or indeed at the top – should consider quitting.
“That would finally allow someone strong and forceful to take over the leadership of the government after being denied their rightful role for too long.
“By that I mean someone like me. I mean….. someone like her…. err, him. Oh, fuck it,” a suddenly flustered Senator Reynolds said before dashing from the Senate chamber.