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Thursday, 20 June 2013
Page: 6522

Live Animal Exports


Mr TRUSS (Wide BayLeader of The Nationals) (14:46): Madam Speaker, my question is to the Prime Minister. When the Prime Minister is in Indonesia, will she apologise for banning the live cattle exports without notice in 2011 and, in so doing, undermining Indonesia's ability to feed its people and damaging what is arguably our most important bilateral relationship?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:46): To the Leader of the National Party, and to the opposition generally, on these important matters—something as important as our relationship with Indonesia—they have really got to try and keep up. They really do need to try and keep up. The Leader of the Opposition was out today trying to pretend to the Australian people that somehow, as Prime Minister, I had never visited Indonesia. Completely ridiculous. That of course would be the kind of thing we would expect the Leader of the Opposition to say because today, too, he was out saying how the coalition had supported me travelling to New York to lobby for the Security Council bid, when of course what happened—

Mr Truss: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order: this is obviously a problem with relevance. We are not interested in her holidays and tourism; we are interested in if she is going to apologise—

The SPEAKER: The Leader of The Nationals will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call and will refer to the question before the chair.

Ms GILLARD: I am referring to our relationship with Indonesia, and just making the point that once again the opposition is getting itself in a mess—the same kind of mess it got into when the Leader of the Opposition, despite his statement today, criticised me for going to New York to lobby for our Security Council bid, saying instead I should have gone to Jakarta, not realising that in New York was President Yudhoyono as well.

But anyway, in all this confusion about Indonesia on the opposition side, let me be very clear to the Leader of the National Party: because we work on this relationship every day, because we have had exchanges numbering almost 130, because there have been comprehensive discussions between me and the president, and between ministers and their counterparts—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat. The Leader of the Opposition on a point of order other than relevance.

Mr Abbott: Yes, Madam Speaker. You did ask the Prime Minister to address the question, and she is in fact defying you. The question was about apologising for the live cattle ban.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. As I have explained every day this week, the question is the entirety of the question. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Let me continue as I was: because we work on this relationship every day, because we have so many high-level exchanges and visits, issues relating to live animal exports have been comprehensively worked through between this government and the government of Indonesia. To the member who asked the question, I suggest he tries to keep up.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will resume her seat. The Prime Minister should not have to shout to be heard in this chamber. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much. On issues of apology, I suggest that the Leader of the National Party would be better off speaking to the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and seeing if she will apologise for insulting Indonesia, if she will apologise for pretending that their officials say one thing in public and another thing in private.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat. The member for Mackellar has the call. This is the third point of order.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would refer you to page 569 of the Practice and, without invoking standing order 75, the Practice makes it quite clear that you have sufficient authority to deal with irrelevancies and tedious and repetitious answers and ask her to sit down.

The SPEAKER: The member for Mackellar will resume her seat. I remind the member for Mackellar I also have the authority to deal with repetitious points of order. The Leader of the House, on the point of order—

Mr Albanese: Indeed, Speaker, you do, and I was going to refer to just that issue on page 191 of Practice, as very helpfully pointed out by the member for Mackellar.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has the call and will return to the question before the chair.

Ms GILLARD: I was asked about apologies, and I was suggesting that the apologies necessary are by the opposition. And while they are in apology mode, they might want to apologise to the Australian people for peddling a slogan and false hope about turning boats around—something that the Leader of the Opposition did not have the courage to raise with the President of Indonesia when he met him.