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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1317

Qantas


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:13): My question is to the Prime Minister. The Treasurer confirmed on 13 February that Qantas had met each of the Treasurer's four preconditions for government involvement in individual enterprises. Prime Minister, if Qantas has met the Treasurer's test, why will the government not act?


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:13): We are more than happy, as the Treasurer has abundantly made clear, to take the shackles off Qantas. That is what we want to do. We want to get rid of the carbon tax, which is a $100 million-plus hit on Qantas jobs, and we do want to remove from Qantas the shackles placed upon it by the Qantas Sale Act. Again I say to Leader of the Opposition: if he is fair dinkum about wanting to help the workers at Qantas, if he is fair dinkum about wanting to do the right thing by Qantas—make Qantas more competitive and more efficient in these difficult days—he should work with the government to decouple the bills in the Senate so that this very day we can free all of the airlines of this country from the carbon tax. The only thing stopping that is the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question referred specifically to the Treasurer's four preconditions, and the Prime Minister is going absolutely nowhere near it.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister is addressing the issue that was raised in the question, but it would be good if he would address it specifically.

Mr ABBOTT: What members opposite essentially want the government to do is provide to one airline what we would not provide to all. What this government wants to do is ensure that all airlines are given the level playing field that they deserve. Unlike members opposite who believe in chequebook government and playing favourites amongst businesses, we do not. We want to give all airlines a fair go, and that includes Qantas.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

The SPEAKER: Manager of Opposition Business, you have already had one point of order on relevance; you cannot have two.

Mr Burke: You agreed with my ruling, Madam Speaker, and the Prime Minister defied it. If it assists the Prime Minister, I seek leave to table—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has concluded his answer. The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.

Mr Burke: I just sought leave to table a document. Why can't I do that at the end of an answer?

The SPEAKER: You can. Is leave given?

Mr Pyne: No.

The SPEAKER: Leave is not given.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, you have not allowed me to say what the document is. I don't know if they can tell when I hold it up, but I think it is reasonable for me to explain what the document is.

The SPEAKER: Does the Leader of the House intend to give leave to this document—

Mr BURKE: Regardless of what it is?

The SPEAKER: regardless of what it is?

Mr Pyne: No.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House has said that, regardless of what it is, he is not giving leave. The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.

Mr Burke: Is it now the case that, against all the traditions of this House, we are no longer allowed to say what the document is? Because that is an extraordinary ruling inconsistent with—

The SPEAKER: It is not a ruling.

Mr Burke: every single precedent set by people who have sat in that chair.

The SPEAKER: It is not a ruling. We will see what happens next time.

Mr Burke: If there is no ruling, I seek leave to table the four principles that were laid down by the Treasurer.

The SPEAKER: Is leave given?

Mr Pyne: No, it is not.

The SPEAKER: Leave is not given.