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Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Page: 4503


Ms JACKSON (2:19 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister provide an update on the Australian government’s Nation Building for Recovery rollout?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —The government’s strategy is Nation Building for Recovery. The government’s strategy is to build the economy up; the opposition’s strategy is to talk the economy down. That is it in a nutshell. Those opposite are happy to talk the economy down, to tear the economy down, because they have concluded that it might actually boost their political prospects. That is what it is all about.

Our strategy is clear. Nation Building for Recovery will support jobs, businesses, apprenticeships and training for today by investing in the nation-building infrastructure we need for tomorrow—nation-building infrastructure which a large slab of those opposite have a particular interest in supporting in their electorates and distancing themselves from here in Canberra. Seventy per cent of the government’s nation-building and economic stimulus plan has been targeted towards infrastructure. That means $60 billion is being invested in infrastructure like rail, roads, ports, broadband, solar energy and the biggest school modernisation program Australia has ever seen.

The budget alone invests $22 billion in further infrastructure stimulus. The consequence for jobs is that we will support more than 200,000 jobs that would otherwise be destroyed by the global economic recession—200,000 people whom those opposite, we assume, would prefer to have thrown onto the unemployment queue. Many Australians will be witnessing construction rolled out at their schools across the nation, across our towns and communities, as we speak. I would ask the House to reflect on this number: 35,000 jobs will be rolled out across the country under our Nation Building for Recovery program. I would like to take the opportunity to report to the House that construction is already well underway. For the benefit of the parliament, I can table an updated list of projects which have been approved for construction. I can table, for example—and I will—a folder of projects already approved under round 1 of the Australian School Pride Program. We have projects here from the—

Opposition members interjecting—


Mr RUDD —Those opposite laugh at these projects. I thought they were supporting some of these projects. Are they supporting or opposing them?

Opposition members interjecting—


Mr RUDD —I am about to table them. You have a look at them. I table a folder of projects already approved under round 1 of the Australian School Pride Program. We have got projects for the refurbishment of play areas, car parks and high school lockers at the Macquarie College in New South Wales and for the building of an outdoor learning centre at Palmwoods State School in Queensland, which is just down the road from where the Treasurer and I grew up. Is Palmwoods in the member for Fisher’s electorate or in the member for Fairfax’s electorate? I presume the member for Fairfax welcomes that investment. I table that particular update. I also table a folder of projects already approved under round 2 of the Australian School Pride Program. If those opposite have an interest in their contents, they can sit down and have a read. We have got projects—


Mr Robert interjecting


The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Fadden!


Mr RUDD —The member for Fadden would be objecting to projects in his electorate, I assume. The member for Fadden is in the House, standing on his feet now and saying that he does not want any investment in schools in his electorate.


Mr Hockey interjecting


The SPEAKER —I warn the member for North Sydney!


Mr Robert interjecting


Mr RUDD —Did I hear the member for Fadden say that he wants no investment in the schools in his electorate? I think I did. I take the intervention from the member for Fadden that he wants no investment in his schools. I table this folder detailing projects from High Wycombe Primary School in Western Australia to fencing and walkways at Moulden Park School in the Northern Territory.


Mr Abbott —On a point of order, Mr Speaker: you have warned members opposite for holding up material. Why is the Prime Minister not being warned for doing exactly the same thing? Surely there should be one standard, the same standard, for all members of this House, including the Prime Minister.


The SPEAKER —In responding to the—


Mr Randall —It’s taxpayers’ money, mate!


The SPEAKER —The member for Canning is warned!

Honourable members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —The member for New England might think that he is being of assistance, but I will ignore the comments. I know the member for North Sydney thinks that he is trying to help me, but sometimes he does not. I just wish to respond to the point of order raised by the member for Warringah. In doing so, I refer to a ruling of the Speaker back on 15 June 2006:

Whilst a member with the call may make a passing reference to a displayed object or article, members without the call may not do so and will be dealt with accordingly.

That is the only thing that I am attempting to apply with regard to those that are displaying signs. The Prime Minister has the call.


Mr RUDD —Thank you very much, Mr Speaker—


Mr Abbott —On a further point of order, Mr Speaker: could I suggest that a passing reference is rather different from what we have been seeing from the Prime Minister. While I accept what you have said, the fact of the matter is that it would be much easier for members on this side of the House if the Prime Minister were held to an appropriate standard.


The SPEAKER —The member for Warringah has not dissuaded me from my original ruling.


Mr RUDD —I note the intervention by the member for Canning, in whose electorate we are currently investing through the Building the Education Revolution in 159 projects involving 61 schools with an investment of $65 million. Does he want that investment or not?

Opposition members interjecting—


Mr RUDD —He does want that investment. So he voted against it in Canberra—


The SPEAKER —The member for Canning will resume his seat.

Opposition members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —There is no provision for questions to be asked of backbench members—


Mr Melham —You didn’t get that money out of a Liberal government.

Honourable members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —The member for Banks was hardly helpful on that occasion.


Mr RUDD —What we have witnessed in the parliament today is the Liberal and National parties in absolute disarray—a Liberal Party standing up in the parliament and saying, ‘Yes, we want investment in our local schools,’ and, ‘No, we will not vote for that investment here in Canberra.’ What absolute rancid hypocrisy! I also table a folder of major rail, road and boom gates and black spots projects across Australia. The Leader of the National Party guffaws, as is his custom. I would have thought that any Nat standing up in this parliament and thinking about the importance of boom gate repair across Australia would, if they were worth their salt, stand up for the good folk of the bush and say that we need this extra investment in boom gates and black spots to enhance security. We have got projects from the western Victoria track upgrade to the upgrade of the Northern Expressway in South Australia.

I also table a folder of Australian social and defence housing projects. These are good reading, too. I would draw these to the attention of the member for Herbert, because these are important projects for our men and women in uniform. We have projects from the 28 Defence housing projects approved for Andrews Farm in Adelaide to the refurbishment of 70 social houses in Subiaco—


Mr Briggs —Is that in passing?


The SPEAKER —If the member for Mayo has a point of order, he can rise, but he cannot interject on me.


Mr RUDD —I assume that the member for Mayo wants no investment in schools in his electorate.

Opposition members interjecting—


Mr RUDD —Apparently, the member for Canning does want deficit to support the investment in schools in Canning; the member for Mayo does not; the member for Fadden I think does not; the member for O’Connor does not—or does? What absolute disarray! I also table a folder of Australian community infrastructure projects—


Ms Julie Bishop —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This display is demeaning not only to the office of Prime Minister but to the Parliament of Australia.


The SPEAKER —There is no point of order.


Mr RUDD —In fact, hypocrisy is a demeaning condition, I would say to the member for Curtin. We have projects from a half basketball court in Derby in Tasmania to a community workshop facility at Bourke in New South Wales. I table that list of projects as well. On top of that I also table a list of projects, a folder of projects, approved for Australian Primary Schools for the 21st Century. We have projects from a resource centre at Bajool State School in Queensland to the construction of a community gymnasium in Winnaleah District High School in Tasmania. I table this Australian Primary Schools for the 21st Century folder as well. Can I say to those opposite that what we have had in their—


Mr Tuckey —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order relating to the practice of this House in terms of this sort of display. But has he got the one with the missing budget figures in it? It would be worth the exercise.


The SPEAKER —The member for O’Connor will leave the chamber under standing order 94(a) for one hour.

The member for O’Connor then left the chamber.


Mr RUDD —So, in sum, what we have in these folders of projects which are currently underway as part of the government’s Nation Building for Recovery program is a large number of investment projects, part of the 35,000 projects being rolled out across the country. Let it be stated formally on the record that the Liberals and Nationals have voted against 20,000 social housing projects, 11,000 projects in primary schools, 802 defence housing projects—Member for Herbert, hang your head in shame—17 major rail projects, 14 major road projects, 500 black spots projects, 250 boom gate projects—National Party, hang your collective head in shame—and 3,168 community infrastructure projects. The one exception, of course, is if we subtract those projects within the schools area for the member for Canning, because he stood up today and said that he in fact meant to vote with the government when this was actually put through.

What we have here is the most appalling display of Liberal Party hypocrisy, underlined yesterday by the minister for infrastructure standing in this place, showing one Liberal member after another and one National member after another attending supportively the launch of local investment projects in local schools right around the country, and piously and hypocritically claiming that they do not support the investment in these projects whatsoever. Is it any wonder that the people of Australia do not believe what those opposite stand for? We stand for building the Australian economy up; you stand for tearing the Australian economy down.