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Fielding vote defeats luxury car tax bill -

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Fielding vote defeats luxury car tax bill

Broadcast: 04/09/2008

Reporter: Hayden Cooper

The Senate has defeated a major government bill, leaving a $500 million hole in the budget. The
defeat was supported by Family First Senator, Steve Fielding.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES: The senate has conducted its first slap down of a major government budget bill. The
increase in taxes on luxury cars was defeated when Family First senator Steve Fielding sided with
the Opposition.

The move has led to an outpouring of invective in the national Parliament, with angry clashes on
all sorts of issues. Capping it all off is a new allegation of menacing conduct by a troubled
backbencher. From Canberra, Hayden Cooper reports.

HAYDEN COOPER: Moments of silence are rare in this place. Especially in the last question time of
the fortnight.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: The House might like to remain tranquil for this answer.

HAYDEN COOPER: Unlikely. The blocking of a government bill in the Senate choked any chance of that.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: They have voted for a cheaper luxury car for Australia, saying
everything I believe about the priorities of those opposite and how they bleat, Mr Speaker.

JOE HOCKEY, OPPOSITION FRONTBENCHER: Mr Speaker, this answer's been going for 7.5 minutes. If the
Prime Minister wants to give a speech he should make a ministerial statement. He's boring
Australia!

KEVIN RUDD: Well Joe, $555 million which you have chosen to provide to the Porsche drivers of
Australia as opposed to $555 million for the public transport needs of Australia.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION FRONTBENCHER: The Prime Minister's now been going for 8 minutes and 40
seconds. This is gold medal boredom and it's an insult to the Parliament.

KEVIN RUDD: Mr Speaker, I noticed that certain Liberals are so bored last night they didn't bother
showing up to vote. But that's a different matter all together.

HAYDEN COOPER: The vote that went wrong got a re-run this morning, and defeat was confirmed.

SPEAKER OF THE SENATE: There being 33 ayes, 34 noes, the matter is resolved in the negative.

HAYDEN COOPER: Higher taxes on luxury cars would have boosted treasury coffers by half a billion
dollars. And some of that money's already been collected since the tax went up in July. So the
Government can't and won't end up on changing Senator Steve Fielding's mind.

CHRIS EVANS, GOVERNMENT SENATE LEADER: Next week we will re-introduce the bill, next sitting week,
and we will attempt again to get the Liberals to become responsible.

HAYDEN COOPER: Until then, expect more presentations like this.

WAYNE SWAN, TREASURER: Their priorities do not lie in lower interest rates for working families, Mr
Speaker.

HAYDEN COOPER: But this leader is not about to back down.

BRENDAN NELSON, OPPOSITION LEADER: Why would any responsible economic manager put new taxes on
vehicles that are used extensively by farmers and tourism operators already struggling in a
declining economy.

WAYNE SWAN: Mr Speaker, we are not doing that.

HAYDEN COOPER: Backbiting, brawling and general unfriendliness have dominated the past 24 hours.

But the sitting week wouldn't be complete without one more allegation of nastiness, and this one's
been levelled at Belinda Neal.

JULIE BISHOP, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER: I found her conduct on the plane menacing; it was in full
view of the entire Qantas flight.

HAYDEN COOPER: Julie Bishop says she played the peacemaker when Belinda Neal threatened Brendan
Nelson with legal action for an earlier comment he'd made about Iguanagate.

JULIE BISHOP: She said, "Well you'd better answer because you'll be hearing from my solicitors. She
was menacing in her tone, she was walking very close to Dr Nelson, so I moved out into the aisle to
stand between them as I got my bag out of the overhead locker.

HAYDEN COOPER: Ridiculous is Belinda Neal's response. It caps off a day of disputes and a fortnight
of feuding.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will leave the chamber for
one hour. The Member for Dickson will leave the chamber for one hour. The leader of the House and
manager of Opposition Business will leave the chamber for one hour.

HAYDEN COOPER: Not for the first time, and not for the last, parliament ends in acrimony. Hayden
Cooper, Lateline.