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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 217

Turnbull Government


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:09): My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. Can the minister confirm that the Prime Minister and the Treasurer proposed the tightening of negative gearing concessions but were rolled by members of cabinet, including Abbott supporters Ministers Dutton, Frydenberg and Porter?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:09): You know, Mr President, I just tried to explain to the Senate why it is important that this parliament do the big things, starting with budget repair, which will make all else possible, which will make possible the good schools, the good hospitals, the good health system, the good welfare system for the next generation and for generations beyond. That is what I was trying to explain to the Senate. What does Senator Wong do in her very first question to me as the re-elected Leader of the Opposition in the Senate? She goes the low road. She goes the low road into the petty politics, because the Australian Labor Party love the petty politics. But when it comes to the big policy choices, that is beyond them. That is well beyond them.

Senator Wong, I assume that you were referring to reports in this morning's Australian newspaper concerning an alleged discussion in cabinet. I, of course, would never disclose what is said in cabinet, but I can tell you, Senator Wong, that that report is completely wrong.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, a supplementary question.



Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:10): Have these very serious leaks about economic policy from cabinet been referred to the Australian Federal Police for investigation?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:11): Senator Wong, I think when you used the word 'leaks' you should have used the word 'reports' or indeed perhaps the word 'assertions', because, as I explained to you in answer to your primary question, the report to which you refer is wrong. It is incorrect.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, a final supplementary question.



Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:11): Doesn't this latest cabinet leak confirm that Mr Abbott is right when he says the reality is that this government has been in office, not in power?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:11): Well, Senator Wong, you should really get off to a better start than indulging in mythology and mendacity. Senator Wong, the report to which you refer—let me say this once again, and for the third time: the report to which you refer is incorrect.