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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Page: 6670

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (15:19): The Leader of the Opposition's followers have morphed into a group of vuvuzelas. They have been listening to him for so long that they have got it right: 'No, no, no, no.' They have got it right, because that is what those opposite are about. You had an extraordinary perform­ance today, and now half of question times have been suspended by the opposition so that they can engage in the ego trip of the Leader of the Opposition—so that he can stand up for 10 minutes and do his ranting and raving and his relentless negativity. They swap around a bit. Sometimes it is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, sometimes it is the shadow Treasurer and sometimes it is the Manager of Opposition Business. But you know one thing: it will never be the member for Wentworth, who can never even get a question in this place. If we did not suspend standing orders so often, maybe he would get a question—which is why we should not suspend standing orders.

They moved this suspension on the basis that it is urgent. I ask you to take yourself back a little bit over 24 hours ago to when you woke up on Monday morning and you read the paper. It was so urgent he was going to do it at 10 am, but of course nothing happened yesterday. No-one was here at 10 am and nothing happened throughout the day. Of course, nothing has happened today either in the House of Representatives or in the Senate. Nothing has happened except that his stunt has been rejected as a stunt. And why has it been rejected as a stunt? Because so relentless is the Leader of the Opposition's negativity that when he went on the radio yesterday to sell the idea that it is vital that we give Australians a say and he was asked a simple question—question 1: 'What if they come back and they don't agree with you? Will you change your position?'—he said no. He said 'No, no, no, no' because he cannot help himself. What a farce.

You can imagine them workshopping it yesterday morning. You can imagine them in the tactics room. There they were: 'Well, Tone, it's gone well. We got the front page of the Telegraph. They look pretty stupid. We got the front page of the Herald Sun and they look stupid, and we got the Advertiser and they look stupid.' They all ran that this was going to happen. Imagine the workshop: 'Let's workshop some questions; let's do a little Q&A. First question: will you agree to be bound by the plebiscite? Answer: no.' You are a joke. You do not deserve to be the alternative Prime Minister of this country.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will refer his remarks through the chair.

Mr ALBANESE: If you cannot get through such a simple—

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: while we are in some respects enjoying this pantomime from the Leader of the House, he should actually direct his remarks through the chair and not individually to members.

The SPEAKER: Order! I have just explained to the Leader of the House that he needs to address his remarks through the chair.

Mr ALBANESE: I will, Mr Speaker. The Leader of the Opposition has shown in the last 48 hours, if there was any doubt, that he is unfit for high public office—it is as simple as that. He himself said:

Disrupting the House is not a sign of a disciplined opposition; disrupting the House is a sign of a desperate opposition.

He then said:

What we have seen from members opposite consistently in the course of this year but particularly over the last few weeks is consistent, deliberate, planned and premeditated conduct to disrupt this House.

Does anyone think—does any single Australian who watches question time think—that this Leader of the Opposition does not have a premeditated strategy to trash the parliamentary processes? This person is not a conservative; he is a reactionary who has no respect for parliamentary institutions and no respect for due process as it occurs in this place. What he has respect for is the front page of newspapers. We see it day after day. Last week, we saw the Leader of the Opposition out there with an apparent new victim, Geoff Didier. He forgot to disclose that Mr Didier was a former, failed Liberal Party candidate.

But it gets better. Yesterday on the front page of the Australian we saw jeweller Peter Dracakis, with his assistant, in his store at Warringah Mall, backing up in this case not his opposition to climate change but his love of Work Choices. There are two things the Leader of the Opposition is passionate about: hating climate change and loving Work Choices. Again, the fact is that when you look into it—it does not take much—you find that Mr Dracakis and his father do own the family jewellery store that was featured in the article through their family company, Polmind Pty Ltd but you also find that Mr Dracakis is the president and financial controller of the Warringah Club—the personal fund-raising group of the Leader of the Opposition. That is who is out there arguing for Work Choices.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the Leader of the House is completely off the leash. While it is at times amusing to find him so desperate, he should at least attempt to address the suspension of standing orders.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Leader of the House knows he must relate his contribution to the suspension.

Mr ALBANESE: I would not mind some questions in this House about Work Choices. For example, we might even ask about the investigation that took place last year in relation to this particular company for failing to comply with electoral donation laws. The same group that has raised over $110,000 for the Leader of the Opposition is calling—

Mr PYNE: I move:

That the member be no longer heard.

A division having been called and the bells being rung

The SPEAKER: While the tellers count the division, I indicate to members that we have present in the gallery representatives of the scientists in Parliament House who are participating in the 12th annual Science meets Parliament. Members would be aware that they have come from all over Australia to share their valuable work with parliamentarians. Some of them might try to propose a hypothesis that can give me some understanding of the phenomena occurring in this chamber at the moment.

Question put.

The House divided. [15:30]

(The Speaker—Mr Harry Jenkins)

Question negatived.

The SPEAKER: The time allotted for the debate has expired.

Original question put:

That the motion (Mr Abbott's) be agreed to.

The House divided. [15:34]

(The Speaker—Mr Harry Jenkins)

In division—

The SPEAKER: A cheap electronic voting system from any of the scientists in the gallery would be helpful, too.

Question negatived.

Ms Gillard: As usual, in the absence of any opposition questions, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.