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Monday, 25 May 2009
Page: 4079


Mr SIMPKINS (3:26 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer. Is the Treasurer aware of the apparent memory loss of the member for Petrie this morning when she conveniently was unable to recall the deficit figure in the budget? Will the Treasurer help the member for Petrie now and inform the House of the deficit figure in the budget that he could not bring himself to mention on budget night?

Honourable members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —Order! The Treasurer might be keen to answer that question, but I am not sure whether it is in order. The question is out of order.


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, on your ruling, and which I am happy for you to revisit, the question is within the Treasurer’s responsibility. He is responsible for the budget papers. He is responsible for the deficit figure. As a member of this House, the member for Petrie was not able to recall the deficit this morning on the doors. The Treasurer has been asked if he could talk about the budget deficit figure and he appeared to be prepared to do so. I ask you to ask him to answer the question. It is completely in order.


The SPEAKER —The Treasurer is not responsible for the actions of the member for Petrie and, as I understood it, the question was inviting the Treasurer to give some sort of lesson to the member for Petrie.


Mr Simpkins —Mr Speaker, the question was whether you could ask the Treasurer to inform the House about the budget.


The SPEAKER —No. That was not how you framed the question. The question is out of order.


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the question asked him to inform the House of the deficit figure in the budget. What could be more in order than to ask him to inform the House of the deficit figure in the budget? He did not want to on budget night and he has been protected from doing so today. If he wants to, he should be given the opportunity.


The SPEAKER —The member for Sturt will resume his seat—and he is warned, not because he raised a point of order but for the way in which he handled himself at the dispatch box. That was not my recollection of the question. The member has indicated that he was trying to change the question to make it in order.


Ms Julie Bishop —Mr Speaker, I believe that Hansard will show that the question was: will the Treasurer help the member for Petrie now and—


The SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order. I have ruled on the question. The member for Longman has the call.