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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 144


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:05): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's repeated commitments to help struggling families. I also refer to the fact that in the last two months since the election the Prime Minister has betrayed struggling families, cutting the schoolkids' bonus, cutting jobs at the CSIRO. Half a million homes are not getting the NBN rollout. Three and a half million are getting their superannuation cut. And the government is cutting assistance to New South Wales bushfire victims. Prime Minister, why is the government betraying Australian families and not delivering— (Time expired)

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Standing order 100(d)(ii) indicates that 'argument' should not be included in questions. I know that a wide definition has been permitted for questions, particularly from oppositions, over the years, but the phrase 'betray the Australian people' is clearly an argument and I put it to you that that part of the question should be ruled out of order.

The SPEAKER: I think on this occasion we might give a little leniency to the Leader of the Opposition and let his question stand.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:07): I understand that the Leader of the Opposition has a job to do, but the problem with that question is that it was based on a farrago of falsehoods.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr ABBOTT: Yes, we are proposing to remove the schoolkids bonus—but we were perfectly up front with the Australian people before the election. We did not hide the bad news from the Australian people before the election, unlike members opposite, who did precisely that: hid the bad news from the Australian people before an election—most notoriously when they said there would be no carbon tax under their government and there was.

The Leader of the Opposition says that we have cut assistance for bushfire victims. We have not. Australian disaster recovery payments have been made to people who were severely affected by that disaster.

The Leader of the Opposition claims that we have cut jobs at the CSIRO. Management of the CSIRO is a matter for the management of that organisation. It is as simple as that.

This all comes pretty rich from members opposite who, having said for ages that they were going to be the absolute protectors of the Australian Public Service, put policies in place that are now resulting in thousands of redundancies across the Australian Public Service.