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Monday, 14 September 2009
Page: 9388


Mr TURNBULL (Leader of the Opposition) (2:00 PM) —My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for Education and Minister for Social Inclusion. I refer the minister to her dismissal of concerns expressed by parents, teachers, the media and the opposition about wasteful expenditure in her school assembly hall program as, in her words, ‘nitpicking’. Does the minister also regard the Auditor-General’s inquiry into the program as a further example of nitpicking?


Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. Obviously I welcome the Auditor-General’s report, and a performance audit is underway. All things to be done to cooperate with the Auditor-General are being done, and we should have his report, hopefully, I believe, by the end of the year—though, of course, ultimately, the time frames are a matter for the Auditor-General.

On the question of what the opposition say about the Building the Education Revolution, I still await the list I asked for from the opposition of which schools they believe should not get funded. They voted against funding in every school—all 9,500—and they voted against funding for 24,000 projects. They come into this parliament and they talk about waste. Well, just table the list that shows—


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Deputy Prime Minister was not asked about untargeted spending; she was asked about nitpicking by the Auditor-General. If she has finished the answer, she can sit down.


The SPEAKER —The Deputy Prime Minister is responding to the question.


Ms GILLARD —Every day we have an opposition spokesperson say a different thing about funding for Building the Education Revolution. On some days, the shadow Treasurer makes it clear that they would not fund it at all. On other days, the Leader of the Opposition says they would fund a program a quarter of the size. And the shadow minister for education tries to get caught saying nothing about funding. But at some point the opposition have to come clean and say to the Australian people, ‘Here’s a list of 9,500 schools and here are the ones that the Liberal Party believe should not be funded.’