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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3416

Honours and Awards

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (15:08): My question is to the Prime Minister. Even former Prime Minister John Winston Howard believes that the Prime Minister's plan to play knights and dames is anachronistic. Why won't the Prime Minister get his priorities right and start focusing on the jobs of people who have been losing their jobs since he got elected?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (15:08): The only people who are obsessing about honours are members opposite.

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield!

Mr ABBOTT: As is well known, the former Prime Minister, Mr Howard, has no greater champion than me. I am John Howard's greatest champion but, in case members opposite have not noticed, this is not the fifth term of the Howard government.

Mr Champion: You are making Joe Lyons seem progressive.

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield will remove himself under 94(a).

The member for Wakefield then left the chamber.

Mr ABBOTT: The Howard government was a great government in its own way, and this government will endeavour to be a good government in our way. That is exactly what we are doing. Another respect in which this is a different government from the Howard government is that we have inherited a much worse fiscal legacy than the Howard government did.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Under standing order 104(a), there is no way that this is directly relevant to the question that was asked.

The SPEAKER: The question was about priorities—the Leader of the Opposition asked the Prime Minister to explain what his priorities were.

Mr Burke: So that means anything is fine?

The SPEAKER: It means that the Prime Minister is answering the question.

Mr ABBOTT: John Howard and Peter Costello inherited Kim Beazley's $10 billion budget black hole. If only we were so lucky—if only it was just $10 billion, not the $123 billion in cumulative deficit we have inherited.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: can the Prime Minister at least be brought into the current decade?

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order. That was an abuse of the standing orders.

Mr ABBOTT: Peter Costello and John Howard only had $96 billion worth of Labor debt to deal with. We have got $667 billion worth of Labor debt to deal with. I am full of admiration for John Howard and Peter Costello. They were great leaders of this country, but these times are different. The challenges that we have inherited, from a much worse Labor government than the one that they succeeded, are much bigger. We will rise to these challenges, and we will fix the fiscal hole that we have inherited.

Mr Shorten: Rise, Sir Tony!

Mr ABBOTT: If only he had the class of his mother-in-law, that is all I can say. On that note, I ask that further questions be left on the Notice Paper.

Mr Albanese: Madam Speaker—

The SPEAKER: I call—

Mr Albanese: Madam Speaker, am I not here?

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler has been on his feet raising points of order that were not legitimate points of order. Does he have one now that is legitimate?

Mr Albanese: How do you know, Madam Speaker, before I have spoken?

The SPEAKER: Because I have heard them already. I refer you to page 189 of Practice.

Mr Albanese: I am aware of Practice, Madam Speaker, and one of the things that happens not just in Practice but—

The SPEAKER: You will not argue with the chair. Resume your seat.

Mr Albanese: But I am making a point of order.

The SPEAKER: Then give the point of order.

Mr Albanese: The point of order is that one of the things we do not do in this place is attack families. We do not attack families of members. That is one of the fundamental lines that we never cross.

Mr ABBOTT: Madam Speaker, obviously offence has been taken. I unconditionally withdraw.