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Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Page: 13274

Carbon Pricing


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:12): My question is to the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister respects working families, as she now claims, why did she lie to the Australian people before the last election when she said, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead'?

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will reframe the question and withdraw the remark.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: I withdraw. My question is to the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister respects working families, as she has just claimed, why did she mislead the Australian public by claiming before the last election, 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead'?




Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:13): I am concerned—and this is really addressed to the staff members assisting the opposition—that they have brought in their question time pack from May or June or maybe August or September. I say to the opposition: your relentless negativity—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! I would remind those on my left that they cannot expect immunity just because they act as a collective. I would have thought that, with a question having been asked, they would actually sit there quietly to at least listen to the answer, if they thought the question was worth asking.

Ms Roxon: Mr Speaker, I rise to seek your guidance on whether your warning to those on your left includes those in the advisers boxes.

Mr Dutton interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Dickson is warned and, if he looks sideways, he will be named. He has the record for the most number of standing order 94(a) ejections. He is always very careful when warned not to tempt the day, but I am watching him. I warned him yesterday and he knows that, if he wants to get a response properly from me, there is a way to do it. Last week I was told that a letter I sent to the Senate reminding them of my powers over the galleries applied to senators and was, in some way, directed to only a portion of the Senate. Well, it was not on that occasion. The warning I am about to give about my powers to deal with the galleries also applies to the advisers boxes. I expect all those in advisers boxes to sit there quietly. I can understand that they may not be able to do that when their employers sitting in the benches of the chamber cannot do it themselves. Everybody will sit here quietly. Those sitting in the public gallery should not be the only people in this room that are behaving. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. If we ever needed an example of the bluster and lack of substance of the opposition, we have just seen one. To the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who asked the question, I say the following: how dare any member of the opposition come to the dispatch box and say the words 'working families'. How dare they after their record in government. How dare they after they imposed Work Choices on working Australians. How dare they ever utter those words. How dare they when their approach to any dispute, to any policy question—

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order relating to direct relevance. This Prime Minister misled working families before the election. She cannot run away from the question.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Government Whip might like to remind members of his side that they are not immune from showing signs. I thank the member for Lyons, who saved the member for Hunter from having to do anything. The question was asked some hours ago and there is a response in progress. The Prime Minister knows her obligations under the standing orders. I will listen carefully to the response.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I was asked very directly about my commitment to working families and I am answering that question. I am doing that by saying that this is a Labor government committed to the interests of working families. That is why we killed the disgusting product—

Mr Abbott interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will withdraw.

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, I did say 'her lies to working families' and I withdraw.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Our commitment to working people has been demonstrated by getting rid of the hated Work Choices, beloved by the Leader of the Opposition and beloved by his deputy, and it will be back in five minutes if they ever have the opportunity to do so. Our commitment to working people has been demonstrated by the approach we took to rebuilding the nation after the summer of floods—opposed every step of the way by those opposite. Our commitment to working people has been shown by the rolling out of our health reform—opposed every step of the way by those opposite. Our commitment to working people and their prosperity and the services they need in the future is shown by rolling out the technology of the future, the NBN—opposed every step of the way by the Leader of the Opposition. Our commitment to working people is shown by our commitment to working women and equal pay, something opposed by the opposition. We have added to that commitment today with a commitment to safe rates which will inevitably be opposed by the Leader of the Opposition. We are showing our commitment to working people by trebling the tax-free threshold—opposed by the Leader of the Opposition. We are showing our commitment to older Australians by increasing the pension—opposed by the Leader of the Opposition. We are showing our commitment to working families by increasing family payments—opposed by the Leader of the Opposition—and on and on and on the list goes.

Let me say this: there is no amount of negativity, there is no amount of fear campaigning, that changes some very basic facts.

Mr Simpkins interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Cowan is warned.

Ms GILLARD: This is a nation that has committed itself to cutting carbon pollution. The cheapest way to do that is through the government's scheme. The most expensive way of doing that is to do it the way the Leader of the Opposition, today, supports. This government supports putting a price that big polluters pay and putting money in the pockets of working families. The Leader of the Opposition actually supports the complete reverse, taking money out of the pockets of working families and giving it to big polluters.

Let me conclude by saying this: all of this pretence and fear campaigning is part of a grand cover-up that the Leader of the Opposition, like every other living Liberal leader, supports putting a price on carbon pollution. It is time he gave up this fear campaigning and just said it.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order: I hesitated during the Prime Minister's answer to take a point of order, given the temperature of the chamber. It might have been missed by some members, but it was not missed by me: during the Prime Minister's answer she said that the opposition opposed the rebuilding of Queensland after the floods. I find that—

Government members interjecting

Mr Pyne: That is a lie.

The SPEAKER: The member for Sturt will resume his seat. There are other procedures of the House that can be used if the member for Sturt feels aggrieved.

Mr Abbott interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! If the Leader of the Opposition has some submission he wishes to make to me, like the member for Dickson, the advice is the same: he can come to the dispatch box.

Ms Julie Bishop: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order: during the Prime Minister's answer she said that the coalition opposed equal pay for women. We do not and I take offence at that statement and I ask her to withdraw it.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. The member for Fowler will resume his seat. These points of order prove a matter I have tried to have addressed by the House: that question time is not a debating time and it would assist if debate was not allowed in the answers, because these are not matters for withdrawal on a personal basis; they are rather debating items. If, at some stage, I can get the agreement of political forces within this place that you would like to even the playing field of question time, we might be able to address these matters.