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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3306


Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (10:08): Never has it been more obvious that the Abbott government has serious problems than last night when the Prime Minister announced his back-to-the-future policy of reintroducing dames and knights and of going back to imperial honours.

This parliament has been deluged with government rhetoric: with their focus on crises that they perceive exist or crises that they try to create; in health, with the need to 'rein in' the budget; with their decision to create a crisis as far as welfare payments are concerned; with their support for bigotry; with their decision to get rid of the charities commission; with their action in the area of the financial planners, a decision that they have now had to put on hold; and with its focus on cuts—cuts, cuts, cuts. These are cuts that hurt the people that I represent in this parliament. I will fight these cuts all the way.

We are going to learn more about cuts when the budget comes down as well as their decision to implement a co-payment on Medicare and their decisions that are going to impact on pensioners. The Prime Minister was asked on two occasions whether or not pensions would be affected by cuts, and he refused to answer. So all I can assume is that this announcement on imperial honours last night is to take people's attention away from the series of crises that have engulfed the Abbott government: the spectacle of Minister Fiona Nash appointing an industry lobbyist as a chief of staff; the spectacle of the Assistant Treasurer being called before ICAC.

I question very seriously the motives for this back-to-the-future announcement that the Prime Minister made last night. It is a decision that was made by an arch monarchist, somebody who has his feet well and truly in the fifties and a person who really is not in tune with the things that are important to the Australian community. The people that I represent want services. They are not interested in dames and knighthoods and imperial honours; they want a government to govern, not a government that tries create distractions.