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Thursday, 12 May 2011
Page: 3785


Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (09:22): This is just a further example of how disengaged the opposition are from the economic debate in this country. We have been completely transparent about this. The need to increase the government borrowing limit was outlined in the budget papers.

Mr Hockey: In the budget papers!

Mr ALBANESE: Who did you have in the lock-up? Were you in the lock-up? They cannot even read the budget papers. They sat there for six hours.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I seek clarification from you as to what particular motion the Leader of the House is speaking to. The motion is actually that so much of standing and sessional orders be suspended as would allow a motion to be put. In fact, he is just giving a rhetorical flourish which has no bearing whatsoever on the motion before the chair.

The SPEAKER: The motion before the House is a motion for the suspension of standing and sessional orders to do certain matters. The debate should centre around the reasons for either supporting or opposing the suspension.

Mr ALBANESE: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank the Manager of Opposition Business for his consistent view that 'suspension' debates should be about the suspension of standing orders. I look forward to the upholding of that ruling, Mr Speaker, when further points of order are made during suspension motions. It is the case that we do not need to suspend standing orders because they have had every opportunity in question time yesterday and when legislation was introduced into the parliament on Tuesday and they will have an opportunity in question time again today. What was scheduled for debate at 9 am, with proper notice having been given, was for the Minister for Defence to give an important statement to this parliament about Afghanistan—a ministerial statement—with a response from the shadow minister. That is what was to go on.

Mr Hockey interjecting

Mr ALBANESE: So we are going to make Afghanistan a partisan issue now, Shadow Treasurer? The fact is that is what was scheduled and that is the debate that should occur. Those opposite have not got the wit to read a budget paper, having been given six hours and then two days to read the budget papers and legislation. I was here in the chamber, sitting next to the Assistant Treasurer, when he moved the legislation that was required for this measure. The opposition were here: one of their key people, the member for Mackellar, was here at the table; one of their key procedural organisational geniuses was here when it was moved. But was there a response yesterday? No. Were there any questions in question time yesterday? No. What they do is come here and seek to waste time by moving a suspension of standing orders, because we know that when it gets to question time they probably will not have any questions to be asked. We know that this opposition have rejected question time and that at every question time at 10 to three they move a motion to suspend standing orders so the Leader of the Opposition can get some TV time before PlaySchool comes on at three o'clock in the afternoon on ABC1. So because of that they come in here and move this suspension. It should be rejected.

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

Question put:

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

The House divided. [9.30 am]

(The Speaker—Mr Harry Jenkins)

Question negatived.