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Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Page: 20

Member for Dobell

Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (15:16): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the Fair Work inquiry into the Health Services Union, which is now in its fourth year—longer than the Watergate inquiry, longer than the Korean War, longer than it took to build Sydney's Olympic Stadium and longer even than the duration of the Rudd government—leading some to believe that there is an institutional go-slow to protect the government. As the government relies on the member for Dobell in order to stay in office, can the Prime Minister confirm that she still has full confidence in the member for Dobell?

Mr Albanese: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Standing order 100 provides very clearly for no argument in a question. That question was clearly out of order and should be ruled out of order.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Sturt is not helping the chair. If he does not want to be candidate No. 1 for the sin-bin, he will be a little quieter. There is no doubt that that question was skating very close to the line; however, I rule it in order and I call upon the Prime Minister.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:21): The answer to the member's question is yes. I would also make the observation to the member that sometimes the opposition wants to criticise the government because it says it has interfered in the Fair Work Australia investigation—obviously that allegation is untrue, but sometimes the opposition decides to criticise on that basis—and then today they walk into this parliament and say, 'Get right in there and interfere and hurry Fair Work Australia up.'

You cannot have it both ways. Independent is independent, and Fair Work Australia is independent. The real motivation behind this question I think is clear for all to see: the Liberal Party, the National Party and the current Leader of the Opposition have always hated the industrial umpire because they have always hated fairness for working people—and it is more of the same.