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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4319

Member for Dobell


Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (14:53): My question is again to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of her statement just a week ago that the next election will be about 'whether you stand for the privileged few or whether you stand for working Australians'. How does the Prime Minister reconcile that statement with her protection of the member for Dobell for the last three years instead of standing up for the 77,000 members of the Health Services Union?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:53): To the member for Sturt, the Manager of Opposition Business, can I say: if he wants to get into a debate about who stands up for working families in this parliament and who stands up for a privileged few, no better day to have it than today—a day on which we are standing up for 1.3 million families around the country; a day on which those on the opposition benches are going to use their vote, their reckless negativity, to try and get in the way of working families getting the Schoolkids Bonus, some basic support, to help with the costs of getting the kids to school.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): There is a lot of preamble.

Ms GILLARD: Madam Deputy Speaker, I was asked a very general question and I am intending to answer it. We also, in this response by the opposition to the budget, could not see a more clear example of who stands up for working people and who stands up for a privileged few than on the question of family tax benefits. We have decided, because of the reckless negativity of the opposition in stopping the company tax reduction, to share the benefits of the boom with working families through a family tax benefit payment increase: $300 for families with one child, $600 for families with two or more children. When the Leader of the Opposition has been asked who he stands for in relation to this proposition, who does he stand for? As I was asked by—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: the Prime Minister has been answering the question for a minute and a half and has yet to actually mention the 77,000 members of the Health Services Union. I ask her to answer that question.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. There was a large part of preamble to the question that would have allowed the Prime Minister a significant amount of wriggle room, and I will say she has been answering the question that you asked. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker. I was asked basically about who stands for the many and who stands for the privileged few, and I am answering that question. I am answering it very specifically in relation to family tax benefit because we have decided to take the benefits of the mining boom and benefit working families around the nation. We have decided they are the people we stand for; not the Clive Palmers, not the Gina Rineharts, but working families. The Leader of the Opposition, when asked about this this morning—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the question.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker. On the question of the many and the few, the Leader of the Opposition, when asked this morning whether or not these payments would be continued if he was ever Prime Minister, said Australian families would just have to wait and see. That is code for him and Clive and Gina turning up on their doorstep and demanding the family payments back. That is what that is code for.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the question.

Ms GILLARD: The party of the privileged few; the party of working Australians: the contrast could not be clearer, Madam Deputy Speaker. Day after day after day, the opposition show who they stand for: a privileged few. Of course, in standing for working Australians—

Mr Abbott interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will not give a running commentary during question time.

Ms GILLARD: we stand for well-run, decent trade unions. That is the Labor way.













Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (14:59): I have a supplementary question to the Prime Minister. I ask the Prime Minister: if she really wants to demonstrate her support for working Australians, will she ask the New South Wales Labor Party to repay the $267,000 of Health Services Union members' money that Fair Work Australia confirms was used for the Labor Party campaign in Dobell at the 2007 election?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the House on a point of order.

Mr Albanese: The question is out of order, Madam Deputy Speaker.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: My understanding would be that the question would be in order.

Mr Albanese: Madam Deputy Speaker, there is much precedent in this House whereby leaders of parliamentary parties cannot be asked questions about the internal affairs of the political branch of their party. This is a matter for the New South Wales branch general secretary and is not within the ambit of the Prime Minister.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, on the point of order: the point of the question arises out of the Prime Minister's answer that the Labor Party is standing up for working families. Health Services Union members are working families and therefore I am asking if she is going to stand up for them.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. On advice—I will be honest; this is my second day doing question time—I would rule the question out of order.

Opposition members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have taken advice from the Clerk. I am not putting the clerks in the middle of this argument but I did pause to seek some guidance as I could not, off the top of my head, remember everything from Reps Practice. The member for Throsby has the call.