Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 1892

Senator SHERRY (Tasmania) (15:11): It is a pleasure to participate in this debate. The contribution that we just heard from Senator Joyce—and members of the Liberal opposition in their questioning of the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Wong—frankly highlights both hypocrisy and distraction. That is what the Liberal Party is about in raising this issue. Let me go to the issue of hypocrisy on the appointment of Mr Gonski to the Future Fund. The process has been clear, the appointment has been made. It has been made before the current chair's, Mr Murray, position was to lapse, I understand, by some four weeks.

The Liberal opposition have criticised my colleague, Senator Wong, a fine finance minister, on a number of grounds. Firstly, they talked about transparency in the process. Nothing could have been more thorough and comprehensive and transparent than the process that Minister Wong went through. Compare the process and the comprehensiveness over the last year with that of the past. Where was the open and transparent process when Mr Costello, as Treasurer, appointed the original members to the Future Fund? Why is the Liberal Party criticising the comprehensive and thorough and transparent approach of my colleague, Senator Wong, when they did not apply the same set of criteria and standards when Mr Costello was establishing the Future Fund? Why didn't they apply the same standards? It is hypocrisy.

Mr Costello was a Labor appointee to the Future fund. We did not see many Labor appointments to anything by the former Liberal government when they were in power. I just remind the chamber that Mr Costello is amongst a number of appointments of former Liberals by a Labor government recognising the qualifications that they have to make an ongoing contribution to the public policy debate in a range of positions. This is hypocrisy from them yet again. The Liberal Party come in here and criticise a Labor government for not appointing a former Liberal Treasurer when a Labor government in fact appointed him to the Future Fund. And it appointed a number of other former Liberal and National Party people I could mention. We did not see any of that from a Liberal government when they were in power—again, hypocrisy. But I think the ultimate hypocrisy is that the Liberal Party come in here and criticise us for not making Mr Costello leader of the Future Fund when they never had the confidence to make him leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister. That is rank hypocrisy. The Liberal Party come in here and plead with the Labor Party, 'Please make Mr Costello leader of the Future Fund when we didn't make him Prime Minister.' That is the ultimate hypocrisy and, frankly, the ultimate insult to poor Mr Costello. I am sympathetic to him on at least that score. But it is yet more hypocrisy from those opposite.

If you look at the process that Minister Wong has gone through as the finance minister compared to the previous process of Mr Costello as Treasurer with the original appointments, it is an outstanding example of transparency and thoroughness. A few people got their noses out of joint—and I am not here referring to Mr Costello particularly. I looked at some of the commentary and briefing from some members of the Future Fund last year suggesting in a range of ways that they should be chair of the Future Fund. They got their noses out of joint. They were not appointed. That is part and parcel of what this is all about in terms of the public debate. I notice a couple of people saying: 'Shock horror! The government's actually made an appointment!' Shock horror: governments have been doing that at a federal level for the last hundred years. Governments of the day—Labor and Liberal—have been making appointments to chairs and a whole range of other authorities, so to criticise the minister on that ground is, again, rank hypocrisy.

I could speak for the next five minutes about the number of Liberal and National Party political appointments that have been made. It is hypocrisy— (Time expired)