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Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Page: 12806


Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (14:28): My question is to the Treasurer. I remind him that MYEFO provided for an additional $20 million this year to address misconceptions about the NBN. Why is the government spending over $3,000 in advertising for each customer on its fibre network while at the same time presiding over a fast-disappearing surplus? Should not the Treasurer be focused on his own misconception—namely, that there is anyone left who believes he is either committed to or capable of delivering a surplus?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:29): I do welcome the question and, as is usual, I will have to go away and check the facts that have been put forward. The member for Mayo, for example, asked a question before that was inaccurate, because the money that is going through that fund was actually allocated—

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will resume his seat; the member for Wentworth on a point of order.

Mr Turnbull: Madam Speaker, is it really in order for the Treasurer to question whether he has to check the facts of his own—

The SPEAKER: The member for Wentworth will resume his seat. Abusing points of order will not be tolerated.

Mr Briggs interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Mayo will leave the chamber under standing order 94(a).

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney! The member for Canning is warned. The Minister for Health is warned. I am not finding it amusing.; it is actually denigrating of a very important issue in our community. If the member for Higgins is serious about it, she should reflect on what she says on occasions. The Treasurer has the call and will be heard in silence.

Mr SWAN: The government are delighted to receive a question about the NBN because we are very proud of what we are doing. Of course, we did account for our expenditure on the NBN in the mid-year budget update, as we have done in all of our budgets. We are also very pleased with the progress of the rollout which has accelerated since we have made the arrangement with Telstra. For example, by the end of this year construction will have commenced or be complete for 758,000 premises. By mid-2015 work will be complete, underway or due to begin in 3.5 million homes and businesses. Why is that important? It is important because we have had something like 22 failed broadband plans from those opposite—22 failed plans. The government are very happy and very proud of what is being achieved by the NBN, and we think it is very good value for money.

Some assertions have been made by the member for Wentworth. But I was saying before that the member for Mayo actually distorted the facts, because the Clinton Foundation grant was approved by Alexander Downer in the Howard government.

Mr Turnbull interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Treasurer will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. One point of order on the question has already been taken. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: I will step away and take the so-called facts that the member for Wentworth has put forward. I will go away and check them because usually you cannot rely on anything they say.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I seek leave to table the contract notice view which shows that this contract was awarded in June 2012.

The SPEAKER: I understand you are seeking leave, but I cannot call somebody else to the dispatch box if you remain on your feet. I would have thought that by now you understood the procedures of the House. The Leader of the House, is leave granted to table the document?

Leave not granted.

Mr Albanese: I table the media release from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, dated Wednesday, 22 February 2006.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat. The member for Kingston has the call.