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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 1412

Senator FURNER (Queensland) (15:08): I was extremely perplexed in question time today by some comments, particularly in the questions from Senator Brandis about the issue associated with the PM's recent visit to St George. Senator Brandis tried to qualify his remarks after question time by claiming that the PM had not visited Brisbane for the last four months. Most Queenslanders know that to get to St George from interstate you fly through Brisbane. I am sure those opposite who are Queenslanders would recognise that.

Here we go once again—another deceitful untruth being manipulated by those opposite. Let us not forget as well that approximately a year ago we were debating in this chamber a Queensland flood levy. Who opposed that? Those opposite opposed a flood levy for those who were in urgent need of assistance. Ninety per cent of the state was ravaged by floods and Cyclone Yasi, yet those opposite were not even prepared to assist the Queenslanders in desperate need at the time. When it comes to a need, the Prime Minister was out there just recently, on 11 February, with Senator Joyce. I happen to have a photograph of Senator Joyce with the Prime Minister on that occasion. Try and deny that and claim that some other person is in the photograph.

I want to refresh our memory on what was provided in 2011 when those disasters hit Queensland. There was $1,000 for each eligible adult and $400 for each eligible child. There were 399,536 payments to Queenslanders totalling $465.7 million. In total to date we have committed $5.6 billion to Queenslanders in desperate need. That is why the Prime Minister on 11 February was visiting those areas of St George, Mitchell and Roma that were hit by severe flooding. It was not the case that the Prime Minister has not visited those areas for the last four months or has not flown into Brisbane in the last four months. That is a complete untruth.

If you want to subscribe to those sorts of untruths, let us reflect on what the Leader of the Opposition has to say when it comes to telling untruths. I referred to this in the chamber the other day, but I will do so again. The headline of the Sydney Morning Herald article on Mr Abbott is: 'Read my lying lips: Abbott admits you can't believe everything he says'. This article is dated 18 May 2010. In it Mr Abbott admitted to lying to the Australian public. He was asked to reconcile the promise that there would be no new or increased taxes under a coalition government. We know that is not the case. We know that if they ever form government again they will lift taxes by implementing a 'Rolls-Royce paid parental leave scheme', as Senator Boyce described it, costing big businesses extreme amounts of new taxes. Senator Boyce has refuted that that was the correct policy. She said rather than use a Rolls-Royce scheme they should be looking at a 'Holden scheme'. I think that was her description.

I have a lot of respect for Senator Boyce. She was on the same committee as I was at the time we introduced paid parental leave. That is something I am proud of and I am certain that she is proud of it as well. That is why she has said to her leader: don't use this Rolls-Royce scheme. Don't introduce a new tax for paid parental leave costing $2.7 billion. Use a Holden model, the model that this government has implemented which is serving women in this country quite well. (Time expired)