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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Page: 8136

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (18:19): I am not prepared to take the word of the member for Goldstein on regulations. He is hardly the most numerate man in the chamber. He is the guy with the $70 billion black hole. I think he was there when the coalition was announcing, during the campaign, their response to the NBN. I think he was there with the member for Casey. There was this extraordinary press conference. They completely fluffed it. In any event—

Mr Haase: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. I wish that the member would come back to the point.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Grierson ): I agree with you. I have been very tolerant. I hope the member for Blair is going to address the bill before us.

Mr NEUMANN: I will. The member for Goldstein waxed lyrical in criticism of us. This legislation does what it says it does. It is a stocktake piece of legislation—one of a series of about five—getting rid of 93 appropriation acts from back in the days when Bob Hawke was the Prime Minister in 1984-85 through to the days when John Howard was the Prime Minister in 1998-99. It also gets rid of 35 supply acts from the same period, three acts containing redundant special appropriations from the Treasury portfolio and three provisions on two special appropriations from the Finance portfolio. It does not appropriate any money; it is good housekeeping. It repeals whole items of legislation and special appropriations within acts that are simply otiose. In the circumstances it is worthwhile legislation. We know there is a lapsing—that is, if the money is not allocated at the end of the financial year, the legislation has no force and effect on the appropriation, so there is no loss of federal government money there.

This legislation is part of a series of statute stocktake bills dating back to 1998—a process to clean out the statute books. We are doing it, and I am pleased that those opposite are supporting it. But all too often they did not do these sorts of things when they were in power, so they can hardly criticise us for doing it. We have stepped up. I think the member for Goldstein criticised us about what we are doing on legislative instruments. We have had a series of amendments introduced by the Attorney-General on the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. These amendments have contributed to getting rid of that tranche of legislation, which is unnecessary and redundant. The Special Minister of State put it well when he said in his second reading speech on 20 June 2012 that the government has stepped up its deregulation reform program, including the progress made at the business advisory forum in May 2012 and the Prime Minister's economic forum in June 2012. I notice that my new premier, Premier Campbell Newman, did not have the grace, humility, determination or credit to attend the forum. He was too busy, he said. Sadly, he was not interested in the deregulation process that we are undertaking.

I notice a document signed by my friend the Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting on Deregulation, who is sitting beside me. It makes reference to what we are doing on deregulation in this legislation—it is streamlined, effective, productive, and it is an annual update on the Australian government's deregulation agenda, which this legislation is part of. The forward to the legislation says what this government is about. What this legislation before the chamber really makes clear is that good quality regulations are key to achieving the Australian government's objectives of improved productivity, increased competitiveness, economic growth and equity. That is what this legislation is about. Regulatory reform is a process. It is an ongoing task. It should be pursued. Legislation such as this is important. We were criticised by the member for Goldstein for removing regulation and for the deregulation process. He should have a look at what we have done in the last 12 months—removing about 12,000 instruments, including a number of instruments that are contained in the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. He should have a look at the fact that there are a further 2,600 instruments under consideration for removal as part of the review process. He should give us credit for actually fixing up things that he did not have the intention and determination to do when his government was in power and when he was a minister and sat on the treasury bench. In the circumstances, I commend the legislation to the House.