‘Cheap’: Labor accused of gagging war veteran MP

VETERAN and north Queensland MP Phillip Thompson has accused Labor of "disgusting political point scoring" after he was gagged from speaking as he was about to talk about veteran suicide.

Just days earlier, he learned of a former defence friend who had taken their own life, he said.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said Labor had been seeking to shut down Mr Thompson's attack on the Palaszczuk Government, not discussions on veteran suicide.

LNP Herbert MP Phillip Thompson said Labor shutting down his speech as he began to address suicide was “disgusting”. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
LNP Herbert MP Phillip Thompson said Labor shutting down his speech as he began to address suicide was “disgusting”. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Mr Thompson, speaking on a Bill about Defence Service Homes insurance, was responding to comments from Labor MP Shayne Neumann who had criticised the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

"It seemed ironic that someone from the southeast corner would be sitting across from me, pointing, saying we're not anything in the north," he said.

"Maybe you should stay in your patch mate."

He flagged at the start of his address that he would return to veteran suicide prevention, and was about to begin when Labor moved a gag motion.

"I am absolutely disgusted by the Member for Greenway's action to quieten me as I clearly said I wanted to talk about veteran suicide. That's just inappropriate and disgusting," he said.

"This should be bipartisan. We should be working together. Not for cheap political points.

"Only three days ago I get a phone call from a mate in Townsville. Another veteran, a friend of mine, had died by suicide."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for the Opposition leader to apologise.

"The one thing the Leader of the Opposition should apologise for is by running the sort of political game tactics we have seen on display this week and in its worst form today where the Leader of the Opposition voted to gag a veteran of this country who was seeking to speak about veteran suicide in this country," he said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Labor moved to stop Herbert MP Phillip Thompson from attacking Labor, not discussing veteran suicide prevention. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Labor moved to stop Herbert MP Phillip Thompson from attacking Labor, not discussing veteran suicide prevention. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Mr Albanese said Mr Thompson had not been speaking about veteran suicide when Labor intervened.

"The Member for Herbert was talking about NAIF, Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, and attacking the Palaszczuk government," he said.

 

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