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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5994

Mr SNOWDON (LingiariMinister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and Minister for Indigenous Health) (19:00): How much time do I have?

Mr Robert: All the time in the world, Minister.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms S Bird ): The minister can do a response and then we will move on.

Mr SNOWDON: Can I thank the honourable member for reading out that diatribe and say to the author, who I think I know, that we have rebutted these arguments in the public domain previously and I do not intend to traverse them here tonight. I have never heard such rubbish in the time that I have been in this parliament.

Let me say to you very genuinely that we are committed to commemorate properly the Centenary of Anzac. We have a process in place. Very shortly I hope to be able to announce, along with the Prime Minister, the person who will head our advisory board and I think that will be an important statement in itself. You would have heard earlier that I have already had discussions with our counterparts in Turkey, in France—or at least with the office in France—in the UK and in New Zealand about the Centenary of Anzac and those things are ongoing. We have had a report from the commission which the government will respond to in due course.

I do not even want to attempt to respond to the garbage about the Australian War Memorial because, again, this has all been rebutted in the public domain. I have to say the flights of fancy which have reached new heights from—not you—the shadow spokesman on veterans' affairs just dismay me.

Mr Byrne: Who is it?

Mr SNOWDON: Good question—a senator, you might believe.

Mr Craig Thomson: Which one? Name him.

Mr SNOWDON: The senator from Ballarat, Senator Ronaldson. Now, Michael has his attributes—

Mr Byrne: Is he a Turnbull supporter?

Mr SNOWDON: I get on quite well with him. That is a positive thing.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Members will assist Hansard by not multiply interjecting during the process.

Mr SNOWDON: They can interject individually, and I am happy to respond.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The minister has the call.

Mr SNOWDON: But in the context of these issues the shadow spokesman would do well to talk to us before opening his mouth. If he were to do that, he would understand that we have been committed from the time that the Prime Minister instructed us, along with Penny Wong, the finance minister, to do a review of the funding. As a result of that review, we were able to make an additional $8 million a year available to the War Memorial. I would have thought that would be the subject of some praise. It is in effect a 23 or 24 per cent increase in their budget on an annual basis, a very significant amount.

Mr Robert: Kicking and screaming, Minister.

Mr SNOWDON: The only kicking and screaming that has been done in the public domain where a bloke is lying on his back with his legs and arms shaking saying, 'Look at me, look at me,' is that of Senator Ronaldson.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Treasury Portfolio

Proposed expenditure, $4,626,511,000