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Monday, 21 February 2011
Page: 643

Mr CIOBO (3:24 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister confirm that the government has spent $13 million on government advertising like the one I am holding that claims that for the first time the Australian government will take dominant funding responsibility for our health system? How can the Prime Minister justify spending $13 million of taxpayers’ money making a claim that has been proven to be completely false?

Ms GILLARD (Prime Minister) —Now I have heard everything: a representative of the political party responsible for the ‘Unchain my heart’ campaign and the Work Choices campaign—in its hundreds of millions of dollars, together with the mouse pads that I presume we still have not managed to get rid of—coming into this place and raising a question about government advertising. But I will at least give the member who asked the question credit where it is due. I think he is one of the Work Choices supporters on the back bench still out loud and proud. That advertising worked for him. When he watched those ads and got the mouse pad, the pen, the coffee cup and all the rest of it, it certainly worked for him.

The government, of course, has advertised in the past and—here is the news—there will be things that we advertise in the future. It is appropriate to get public information to people about changes in government services, including reforms.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER —The member for Sturt is warned!

Ms GILLARD —What the member may want to acknowledge is that the reform agreement entered into at the Council of Australian Governments meeting is a reform agreement that has the support of the Premier of Western Australia and the Premier of Victoria. This may cause the member to think to himself: ‘When people who were there who run states and health services are prepared to sign up to this reform, what should I conclude from this?’ What he should conclude is that it is not appropriate to come into this House and carp and whinge, particularly in circumstances where you have got no policies and no plans for the future.