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Tuesday, 24 June 2003
Page: 17297

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —Mr Speaker, I seek the indulgence of the chair to add to an answer.

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister may proceed.

Mr HOWARD —The Leader of the Opposition asked me about university fees, and he referred to a report regarding the University of Sydney planning `an across-the-board 30 per cent increase on all possible HECS fees, following the government's inequitable university changes'. I draw the attention of the Leader of the Opposition and the House to an ABC News Online item posted at 10.47 a.m. this morning, which says quite clearly:

Meanwhile, Sydney University has denied reports that it is decided to pursue a 30 per cent fee increase for students.

A Sydney University spokesman says a sub-committee of the university's Senate is still considering what recommendations it will make ...

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HOWARD —I am in continuation of the supplementation of an answer. Once again, the Leader of the Opposition—

The SPEAKER —The member for Werriwa will resume his seat. He cannot expect me to recognise him if he is going to treat the Prime Minister like that. It is quite outside the standing orders. It would not matter who had the call. I will not tolerate people interrupting someone else with the call in that manner.

Mr HOWARD —I make the point yet again—

Mr Latham —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Surely the Prime Minister has the capacity to add facts and figures to the answer that was provided to the House earlier on. He does not have the capacity to go on making judgments about other people in the House.

The SPEAKER —The member for Werriwa will resume his seat. In adding to an answer, the Prime Minister can do precisely as he has done. What he cannot do is introduce new material.

Mr HOWARD —I simply make the observation, as I indicated in the earlier answer, that the Leader of the Opposition has a great penchant for verballing not only me but also members of his own party.

Mr Crean —I seek leave to table the transcript from which I quoted the Prime Minister's commitment that there would be no increase in university fees and that that would be sacrosanct. I seek leave to table it. There is no verballing here.

Leave granted.