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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 6004

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (19:41): I want to start by saying how extraordinary and disappointing the Assistant Treasurer's conduct has been here tonight in this important Main Committee meeting to consider the budget in detail. This is the closest thing the House has to the estimates process. It is quite clear from his conduct over the last 40 minutes that his sole preparation has been to conjure up as many excuses as he can, not to answer specific questions and to bring along with him as many colleagues as he could to waste time. The House ought to know that this conduct by this minister tonight—

Government members interjecting

Mr TONY SMITH: Those opposite may interject. That is part of their riding instructions. This is not some ALP state conference. The record ought to show that the conduct of this minister is not only out of step with previous ministers who have spoken broadly but also out of step with the conduct of his own colleagues, including other ministers who appeared earlier this evening. That is the minister's choice. That speaks volumes about his approach to his job. It speaks volumes about his ability to be across the detail of that job.

He clung to the standing orders, which has been his preparation, all afternoon about how not to talk generally about the budget. This is the government's budget. His performance has been absolutely pathetic. He is here on behalf of the Treasurer to talk about the government's budget. He ought to know it backwards. He is the Assistant Treasurer. Previous people in his position have come to this committee and taken questions for an hour and have attempted to answer them. They have not organised colleagues to come into the chamber and waste time, as these three colleagues of his have been organised to do, no doubt by him. He ought to answer the questions put to him by the member for Goldstein. He spoke generally about the budget when it suited him. He ought to be across it. I want to ask him a series of questions, given that he spoke generally about the budget when it suited him. I would like him, as a Treasury minister, to remind the Main Committee of the forecasts in the budget for the unemployment rate and the consumer price index in 2011-12 and 2012-13.