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Thursday, 20 August 2009
Page: 8542

Mr ROBB (2:19 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer. Given the Treasurer has indicated that he wants a mature debate on tax, does he agree with Dr Ken Henry that the states should be allowed to levy their own state income taxes?

Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —This is yet another example of those opposite being so desperate that they have to conduct and misrepresent the Treasury secretary, which is what they have done. The Treasury secretary gave a speech yesterday. He said all options are on the table. He is producing a report independently of the government. We will debate it in a mature way, irrespective of how divisive those opposite want to get. I have absolutely no intention of pre-empting the Henry report. Those opposite are just flipping and flopping all over the place, because we have had the shadow Treasurer say he supports the Henry review and we have had the Leader of the Opposition come in the House today and describe it as a smokescreen. Which one is it? Do you support it or not?

Mr Robb —Mr Speaker, I asked the Treasurer—

The SPEAKER —No, the member for Goldstein will await the call. The member for Goldstein does not have to sit but he will await the call. The member for Goldstein has the call.

Mr Robb —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I did not ask about other people’s opinions; I asked the Treasurer about his opinion on whether he supports state income taxes.

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, on the point of order: the member opposite has just clarified that his question was clearly out of order because it was seeking an opinion.

Honourable members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Sturt. The member for North Sydney. Those on the frontbench on both my left and right.

Mr Secker interjecting

The SPEAKER —The member for Barker will withdraw his remark.

Mr Secker —I withdraw.

The SPEAKER —The Leader of the House will know that, in response to a point of order yesterday, I indicated that retrospective points of order on a question have not been permitted in the past. If a mistake was made, then I have made a mistake.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER —Order! Sometimes I am just not sure which book of standing orders the Manager of Opposition Business is using. He just cannot continue to interject all the time.

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, on the point of order: I understand your point. I am asking you for a ruling based upon the shadow minister’s own point of order, where he declared he was seeking an opinion.

The SPEAKER —I am in a position to rule on this point and my ruling is that the Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN —What we have is another example of a split on that side of the House—a split between the shadow Treasurer and the Leader of the Opposition. What a rabble they are! The only things that bind them together are hatred and fear. They have proved their lack of judgment time and time again.

Mr Hockey —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order which goes to relevance. I would ask that the incompetent, inconsistent Treasurer answer a single question.

The SPEAKER —The member for North Sydney is warned, not for raising a point of order but for the rider he gave to his point of order. On the point of order, the Treasurer has the call. He will respond to the question.

Mr SWAN —The shadow Treasurer was very sloppy when he made that statement—

The SPEAKER —The Treasurer will refer to the question.

Mr SWAN —He was very sloppy yet again, because he went out and said he supported the Henry review. He was encouraged by it. We now have the tactics in this House this week. He has obviously been rolled. There were something like eight question times when there was not a question from the shadow Treasurer to me.

Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. With due respect to you, the Treasurer was asked whether he agreed with Dr Ken Henry’s remarks about state income taxes. None of what he is now engaging in could be regarded as relevant to the question.

The SPEAKER —The Treasurer has concluded. I call the member for Hasluck.