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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3111

Future Fund


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:43): My question is to the Prime Minister. Who did the guardians of the Future Fund advise should be appointed to replace David Murray as chair?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:43): Senator Wong, the responsible minister, has dealt with this extensively today. Suffice it to say, we appointed the best person for the job. Would the Leader of the Opposition have us do anything other?


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:43): Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister explain why the government did not accept the advice and the recommendations of the guardians of the Future Fund?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:43): Without accepting the premise of the Leader of the Opposition's question, I will answer it. We determined to appoint David Gonski because he is the best person for the job. We determined to appoint David Gonski because he has a track record of chairing major corporations in this nation, which we thought was relevant experience for the job. He has a track record of chairing—

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the question was not about the person who ended up with the job. The question was about why the government did not take the advice of the guardians of the Future Fund about who should have been appointed.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The question was as the member said; however, the Prime Minister is presumably explaining why the government took a different course of action. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Firstly, I did not accept the premise of the question. Secondly, Mr Speaker, I am explaining that we appointed the person we considered to be the best person for the job. We thought that was Mr Gonski because of his career in chairing major corporations, including the Australian Stock Exchange, Coca-Cola Amatil and the like. Indeed our appointment of Mr Gonski to the job has been welcomed in a press release by the coalition, authored by the shadow Treasurer and the shadow minister for finance. We appointed the best person for the job.

I do not know what case the Leader of the Opposition is bringing into this parliament. If he is asking me to appoint someone other than the best person for the job because they are a member of the Liberal Party, then I will not do it. We appointed the best person for the job.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister for regional Australia could well be the maiden ejection from the chamber of a member of cabinet. I am not sending him out at this point because his behaviour has not quite required it, but he is on notice.