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Thursday, 27 June 2013
Page: 7243


Mr RUDD (Griffith—Prime Minister) (12:01): Speaker, on indulgence, I would like to make a statement to the House.

I inform the House that last evening the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party elected me as the federal Labor leader and the member for Grayndler as the deputy leader. As a consequence, this morning I called on Her Excellency, the Governor-General. The Governor-General has commissioned me as the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia. She has also commissioned the member for Grayndler as Deputy Prime Minister and the member for McMahon as Treasurer.

On indulgence, I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the former Prime Minister and the former Treasurer. Through the difficult years of minority government, the former Prime Minister has achieved major reforms for our nation that will shape our country's future. I acknowledge her great achievements in taking the Fair Work Act through the parliament. I acknowledge her great achievements in bringing in a national scheme for the testing of literacy and numeracy across the Australian school system, something we once believed was impossible given the institutionalised hostility of the states. Now the parents of Australia know the results of their schools and know the results of their kids, and as a result we can intervene as appropriate to support our children. I also acknowledge her great achievements in delivering better funding for Australian schools. And, on top of all that, I acknowledge her great work as a standard-bearer for women in our country: Australia's first woman as Deputy Prime Minister and Australia's first woman as Prime Minister.

I would also like to acknowledge the work that the former Treasurer did with me to prevent this country from rolling into global economic recession and avoiding mass unemployment. No-one should forget this work. When we think of people around the world and the hundreds of thousands who lost their jobs in other countries—millions in some—that was avoided here, and I acknowledge the strong work done by the former Treasurer in assisting me and the other members of the cabinet in dealing with that crisis.

I also wish to place on record the enormous contribution that other ministerial colleagues have made, and I will have more to say about them at a later time. The remaining ministerial arrangements stay in place for the present time. I will make further announcements regarding those arrangements at a later time.

As a courtesy, I would also inform the House that Senator Penny Wong has been elected as Leader of the Government in the Senate, and Senator Jacinta Collins as deputy leader in the Senate. Today the Deputy Prime Minister will answer questions in the portfolios of climate change, industry, trade, tertiary education, skills and school education.

As we all know in this place, political life is a very hard life—a very hard life indeed. Occasionally, it can be kind; more often it is not. It has been that way from time immemorial. I doubt very much whether in the future it will change. But let us all remember, particularly on days like this, that in this parliament and in this place we are all human beings. We all have families and we all have emotions. So let us try—just try—to be a little kinder and gentler with each other in the further deliberations of this parliament. I thank the House.