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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1197

Minerals Resource Rent Tax


Ms MARINO (ForrestOpposition Whip) (14:56): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the comments made yesterday by the Chief Government Whip that her mining tax is untidy, inefficient and unsustainable, in direct contradiction of her, the Special Minister of State, the Treasurer and Minister for Trade. In light of these extraordinary comments made by the member for Hunter about one of her signature policies, does the Prime Minister maintain her confidence in the Chief Government Whip?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:56): I thank the member for her question. Given the fine track record of the government in this parliament working with independent members of parliament in passing legislation, despite the relentless negativity of those opposite, any reasonable person would have to conclude that both the Leader of Government Business, the chief whip, and the whips who assist him are doing a very good job indeed.

Honourable members interjecting

Mr Albanese: Hear, hear!

Ms GILLARD: I am getting very good support for that statement from one source on the front bench, from Minister Albanese. What, of course, that means is that in this parliament we have had to go to extraordinary efforts to make sure that, despite the relentless negativity of the opposition, we have been able to get big things done.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, the question was about the chief whip's comments on the mining tax, and I can understand why she wants to avoid Francis Urquhart's wrath. By the same token she should try and answer the question.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. That was a complete abuse of a standing order, and he is shocked that I have told him so. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much. I was actually asked a very broad question, and if the opposition wanted to draft it differently, then they should have done so. Having been asked a very broad question, I will answer it. The role of the Chief Government Whip goes to the functioning of the parliament. The functioning of the parliament is important because what happens here actually makes a difference to the lives and opportunities of Australians. It can be very hard, indeed, to diagnose from the conduct of the opposition that this parliament has that job, but we take it seriously. We take it seriously every day. Despite the games and the stunts and the negativity and the carping, we get on with the job every day of ensuring that Australians can live lives of opportunity and they can look forward to a better future. That is so that we can truly say as a nation that we will acquit our promise to the next generation of making sure that they get to lead lives of greater opportunity and prosperity than we ourselves have lived. In order to do that, we not only have the support modern families who are getting about the hard work of raising kids and supporting elderly parents today, we have got to make sure that we are building a nation for tomorrow that offers people the benefit of jobs and opportunity.

That means it is important for us to be able to explain to the Australian people what is happening in our region, and the opportunities and challenges it brings, and to explain to Australians what is happening in the global community in the aftershocks of the global financial crisis. And we can chart a course that will mean opportunity and prosperity in the future for them and for their families—economic growth, jobs, clean energy, infrastructure, the NBN, skills, a better approach to regulation, better schools, better hospitals, better early childhood education and closing the gap for Indigenous Australians. These are the policies, these are the plans, that drive this government on and ensure that in this parliament we work hard, whether it is the Chief Government Whip or any other member, to deliver for the Australian people.