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Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Page: 913


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:11): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind her that the member for Griffith stated this morning, 'The government needs to be mindful of what undertakings they've given to the mining industry, in response to calls to change the mining tax.' Given the heads of agreement the Prime Minister signed with the mining industry unequivocally states that all state and territory royalties will be creditable against the resources tax liability, will she assure the mining industry that her promise will not now be broken?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:11): Once again the Leader of the Opposition shows he is months and months and months and months behind the economic debate in this country. It is truly astonishing that he would walk into this parliament today and pretend that discussions between the head of the federal Treasury and state counterparts about treatment of royalties is somehow new or only newly reported today or newly announced yesterday. This is all absurd—completely absurd. The Leader of the Opposition, as we know, is not interested in economic matters, and you could not get a better demonstration of it—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition might be called out very quickly if she does not obey the standing orders.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Prime Minister was asked whether she stood by her promise to the mining industry. It is a yes/no answer and she should answer it.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Speaker. I was just trying to catch the Leader of the Opposition up on months and months and months and months of economic dialogue that he has clearly missed out on, so let's just start at the beginning. I, working with the Deputy Prime Minister and the minister for resources, entered an agreement with the mining industry. We then had a policy transition group overseen by Don Argus. We then brought the legislation to the parliament. The legislation passed. We implemented the tax. There was a question about unsustainable royalty increases by state governments. We made that part of what we asked the GST review to look at. And of course there are people involved in the GST review who have got a connection to the other side of politics—I am obviously thinking here of Nick Greiner—and they have produced a report. Following the production of that report, it has been clear publicly that federal Treasury has been in dialogue with the heads of state treasuries. There is nothing new about that. Anybody who had picked up the Financial Review or the Australian newspaper on more days than today would have been able to tell you that complete story months and months ago. So the Leader of the Opposition once again, through the form of his question and his carry-on in this parliament, just shows how deeply uncomfortable he is and how deeply ignorant he is of economic matters.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition on a supplementary.

Mr Abbott: No, Madam Speaker, I seek leave to table the agreement between the mining companies and the Prime Minister stating that the royalties are creditable, which the Prime Minister is now about to break.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. Is leave granted to table the document?

Mr Albanese: No, everyone knows my view of you.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will withdraw.

Mr Albanese: I didn't even say what it was. But I withdraw.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I am not taking the cry of 'childish' from anybody in this parliament today. You should all be wary. I can hear just about everything you are muttering under your breath, and I am finding it very unpleasant.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, on the matter that has just transpired, is it in order for the Leader of the House, when you ask him to give an either yes or no answer, to always insult the opposition? I ask you to draw him back to behaving with some dignity.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Attorney-General is not assisting. I would ask the Manager of Opposition Business to reflect on his statement for every point of order taken in this place and for preambles in questions as well.