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Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Page: 7418


Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (6:29 PM) —Yes. We should have that information. I just want to go to a section of the minister’s unread second reading speech. It refers to the website www.guaranteescheme.gov.au. The second reading speech says:

The Government will provide six-monthly reports to the Parliament on the Guarantee Scheme’s operations, including:

  • the extent of the liabilities covered by the guarantees;
  • whether any calls have been made …

Thank goodness the government is going to tell the parliament if the executive moves in to make good a failed bank loan. The speech continues:

  • the payments, if any, made by the Commonwealth under the guarantees.

Thank goodness, again, that this government is so publicly minded that it is going to actually inform the parliament if it takes from consolidated revenue millions—potentially hundreds of millions—of dollars to pay a loan for a bank default.

That brings me to the question of why the government considered that a recall of parliament for such an extraordinary situation was not the appropriate way to go. What was it about the deliberations in cabinet, if indeed the matter was dealt with in cabinet—I presume that the legislation was—that caused it to come to the conclusion that the Australian parliament was second rate to either the requirements of the banks lobbying the government or the greater wisdom, as it must be assumed here, that the government thought resided in the executive, rather than in the parliament elected by the people of Australia?