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Monday, 10 September 2018
Page: 8387

Liberal Party Leadership


Ms CATHERINE KING (Ballarat) (14:38): My question is to the Minister for Health. Can the minister confirm that the last time this House met, he supported a Turnbull government on Monday, voted for a Dutton government on Tuesday, said he supported a Turnbull government on Wednesday, called for a Dutton government on Thursday and pledged his loyalty to a Morrison government on Friday? Can the minister confirm that, when he told the House he supported Malcolm Turnbull, he'd already decided to support someone else? What is the minister's response to the Prime Minister describing his behaviour as being like a muppet show?

The SPEAKER: I don't particularly think the question's in order. But I can see the minister's prepared to answer it, so I will give him the call.



Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for Health) (14:39): I am very prepared to answer this because, oddly enough, this is an opposition that cannot even raise the will to ask a question about health; they cannot raise the will to ask a question about the PBS; they cannot raise the will to ask a question about medical research. And do you know why? Because they're ashamed. They are shamed of what they did when, in the 2011 budget, they pulled the plug on the listing of new medicines. One of the reasons why I have a deep and profound belief in this Prime Minister, in this man, in this individual, is that he put together a $1.3 billion health and medical research plan. This was a plan with $248 million for clinical trials to help people have access to medicines who would otherwise never get it. It was a plan with $242 million for a new frontier science program and a plan with—

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs is now warned!

Mr HUNT: $500 million for a national genomics mission, which, amongst other things, will help young families aspiring to have children have genomic testing as part of Mackenzie's Mission, which the Prime Minister talked about the day after the budget, so that they could tell whether there is any prospect that they are likely to have the combination of markers that would lead to children being born with cystic fibrosis, SMA or fragile X, amongst other genetic conditions. This is the same Prime Minister who invested and helped create a billion-dollar contingency fund for PBS drugs. Why would he have needed to do that? Because the previous government stopped listing medicines. The previous government, in their 2011 budget, because they couldn't pay for it, deliberately deferred the listing of new medicines until fiscal circumstances would permit. Just remember that: until fiscal circumstances would permit. So one of the things that he did as Treasurer was help create those fiscal circumstances. He helped create those—

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Health will resume his seat. The member for Grayndler on a point of order. State the point of order.

Mr Albanese: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It goes to relevance. The question was about the misleading of parliament. It's a very serious issue to accuse a minister of. If you mislead parliament, you have to resign your position. The minister needs to respond to the question.

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat. The Leader of the House on a point order.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, the question didn't mention the misleading of parliament and the member for Grayndler knows that, if there is such an allegation, it needs to be moved by a substantive motion, not asked as a question by the member for Ballarat.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat. I'll deal with this matter very swiftly. As I said, I didn't particularly think the question was in order myself, certainly on the basis of what I've advised members numerous times about the content of the whole 30-second question. The majority of it was not in order. Nonetheless, the minister was prepared to answer it, so I allowed that course. If we're now going to get into a tit-for-tat over the content of the answer, I will be more strict on the questions. That's why I'm giving the minister latitude.

Mr HUNT: In the end, this Prime Minister has done more in the raising of funds for allowing new medicines to be listed than, arguably, any other person in the history of this parliament, and it compares with that side, which, in the end, you always know, because they can't manage the economy. You can't trust them to list your medicines.