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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 13803


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:32): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, and I thank the opposition for that welcome. What we have heard from the opposition today is a typical set of opposition contributions full of abuse, full of bluster, full of conspiracy theories. Of course, one thing we never hear from the opposition is consistency, and one thing we never hear from them is a contribution on the nation's future.

Firstly, on the question of inconsistency, how breathtaking is it that within one hour the Leader of the Opposition can be on his feet praising the member for Scullin as an honourable man—

Mr Christensen interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dawson will remain silent.

Ms GILLARD: and then less than an hour later he can be on his feet in this parliament casting aspersions on the honour of the member for Scullin. An honourable man came into the parliament this morning and explained to the parliament and to the people of Australia the decision he had made.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sturt will remain silent for the rest of the Prime Minister's contribution.

Ms GILLARD: An honourable man—as described by the Leader of the Opposition. An honourable man came into the parliament this morning and gave an explanation for a decision he had come to. A man of honour, whose name and reputation should not be besmirched by the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in this parliament today.

Mr Dutton interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Dickson will remain silent as well for the rest of the Prime Minister's contribution.

Ms GILLARD: It is grossly inappropriate and grossly offensive and completely inconsistent. They are one time on their feet praising the member for Scullin, the next time on their feet trying to trash his well-known honourable reputation.

Secondly, on the question of who should serve as a Speaker in this parliament, once again from the Leader of the Opposition we see absolutely no consistency. The Leader of the Opposition is on the record, having published his view, that he supports an independent Speaker in the Westminster tradition.

Mr Abbott interjecting

Ms GILLARD: Of course, the Leader of the Opposition is now yelling abuse because he does not know anything else to do, with his track record of negativity, and he hates it when his inconsistencies are exposed.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will remain silent.

Ms GILLARD: This is an inconsistency and Australians should know it. The Leader of the Opposition has said publicly that during the life of this parliament we should have an independent Speaker in the Westminster tradition. For him to come into this parliament and to suggest that to have the current Speaker here is somehow in breach of the Westminster tradition just shows how he will spin anything, misrepresent anything, to try and reinforce his views.

Let us look at what is happening in Westminster today. In Westminster today, the current Speaker of the House of Commons is a Conservative but was elected under the last Labour government. That is what is happening in the House of Commons today.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The members on my left will contain themselves, including the member for Casey.

Ms GILLARD: So before anybody in the opposition tries to get out and peddle this misrepresentation that somehow the Westminster tradition requires someone from the same side as the government to sit in the Speaker's chair is complete nonsense and another part of the fabric of deceit that they are out there in the Australian community with.

More worrying in many ways than the relentless spin and bluster and abuse from the Leader of the Opposition with his bizarre conspiracy theories, more concerning than that, is his lack of ideas for this nation's future.

Mr Simpkins interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cowan will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a).

The member for Cowan then left the chamber.

Ms GILLARD: Every occasion in the last 12 months where he has been asked to put the nation's interest in front of his political interest, he has put his political interest first. Let us look at what has happened this week with the minerals resource rent tax.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has been asked to remain silent.

Ms GILLARD: A man wedded to opposition, wedded to negativity, incapable of saying anything except no, a man with no idea for the nation's future, has come into this parliament and, on more than 20 occasions, has opposed Australians getting benefits that working families need, more superannuation, better infrastructure and more jobs around the country.

Mr Dutton interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Dickson will remove himself from the chamber under standing order 94(a). I had already asked him to remain silent for the rest of the Prime Minister's contribution.

The member for Dickson then left the chamber.

Ms GILLARD: This negativity and betrayal of the interests of Australian working people builds on top of his betrayal of their interests in how he has conducted himself in the debate about a clean energy future.

Mr Tony Smith interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Casey should be very careful.

Ms GILLARD: He is a man who is on the public record as supporting putting a price on carbon.

Mr Morrison interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Cook will remain silent.

Ms GILLARD: Twisting and turning in his relentless negativity, he does a weathervane routine—he is fully in support of putting a price on carbon. He is musing publicly about a carbon tax.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is skating on very thin ice. I have asked her to remain silent.

Ms GILLARD: Then he decides it is in his political interests to oppose carbon pricing, and now of course we know that if he was ever prime minister he would keep carbon pricing. He is in favour of it, just like every other living Liberal leader. Let us look again at the things that have been done this year, opposed by the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Tony Smith interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Casey will remove himself under the provisions of standing order 94(a).

The member for Casey then left the chamber.

Ms GILLARD: The new health funding system, which means more doctors, more nurses, more beds and more local control was opposed by the Leader of the Opposition before the Council of Australian Governments meeting had even come to an end.

Mr Morrison interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Cook will remain quiet for the rest of the Prime Minister's contribution.

Ms GILLARD: Before he could even know what the agreement was going to hold, he was out there opposing more doctors, more nurses, more beds and more local control in our health system.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms GILLARD: He is opposed to the Australian people having the technology of the future, the National Broadband Network. He would rip that up out of the ground. He was opposed to rebuilding Queensland, incapable himself—

Opposition members interjecting

Ms GILLARD: of producing the figures that would enable the nation to make appropriate provision to rebuild Queensland. You cannot scream you are in favour of rebuilding Queensland if you cannot identify where the money is coming from! He is a man with no vision for the economy at this period of time.

Mr Christensen interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Dawson will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a). The Prime Minister will resume her seat.

The member for Dawson then left the chamber.

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order, the standing order against offensive words: the Prime Minister has claimed that I was opposed to the rebuilding of Queensland after the floods. That is a lie and it is offensive and she should not be allowed to say it.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.

Ms GILLARD: There is the glass jaw that the Leader of the Opposition is famous for. He thinks he can come into this parliament and say anything he likes about other members in this parliament, but should you criticise him, the glass jaw is out! You are not in favour of—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will resume her seat.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order: it is quite frankly beyond the pale for the Prime Minister to claim falsehoods in this speech. She should at least attempt to explain why standing orders should not be suspended so that she can be censured.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. I would counsel the Prime Minister to be quite cautious.

Ms GILLARD: To those opposite in their relentless negativity, in their campaigns of saying no to the interests of the Australian people, I say that the Australian nation needs us in this parliament to understand the biggest questions that the nation confronts: how to realise a clean energy future; how to have economic growth without also growing our carbon pollution, without also doing damage to our environment. In this, the Asian century, as the resources sector of our economy is turbocharged, how do we make sure there are opportunities and jobs around the nation? How do we make sure that there is opportunity for all? How do we make sure during this time of economic and social change, as our society ages, that we ensure there are appropriate health services and services for people with disabilities—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat.

Ms Julie Bishop: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order: is it any wonder that the Prime Minister does not take these censure motions when she does not understand—

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: I warn the Deputy Leader of the Opposition!

Ms GILLARD: When I talk about the nation's future, those opposite interrupt. What we have seen today, and as this parliament closes, is a government dedicated to ensuring the Australian people have a stronger and fairer future while a bitter and divided opposition engaged in the longest dummy spit in Australia's history. (Time expired)

Mr Bowen: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order: during the Prime Minister's contribution the honourable member for Hume used a grossly disorderly and offensive expression in relation to the Prime Minister and I would ask you to require him to withdraw it.

The SPEAKER: I did not hear what the honourable member for Hume allegedly said. If he made the statement as claimed by the minister he would assist the processes of the House if he were to withdraw.

Mr Schultz: I am not quite sure, Mr Speaker, what offensive comment I made or what is being referred to, but if it suits the House I withdraw.

The SPEAKER: Order! The time allocated for this debate has expired.

Question put:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving the following motion forthwith:

That this House censure the Prime Minister for presiding over a deceptive, dysfunctional and directionless government.

The House divided. [14:48]

(The Speaker—Hon. Peter Slipper)

Question negatived.