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Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 1764

Gillard Government

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:08): Mr Speaker, my question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of this statement by the member for Griffith:

It wasn't K. Rudd who made a pre-election commitment on a carbon tax. It wasn't K. Rudd who made a particular commitment to Mr Wilkie on the question of poker machines. It wasn't K. Rudd who had anything to do with the East Timor Solution or the Malaysia Solution.

Isn't the member for Griffith right that, far from being the cause of a good government going bad, he is in fact a whistleblower on a bad government getting worse?

The SPEAKER: Before I call the Prime Minister, I would like to point out that standing order 98(c) provides that a minister can only be questioned about matters of public affairs, administration or proceedings pending in the House, being matters for which the minister is responsible or with which the minister is officially connected. The practice of the House is that questions about political party leadership per se, about the statements and actions of the party members, officials and backbench members and about party meetings and processes have been ruled out of order. I direct members to House of Representatives Practice pages 538 and 539. There would be questions to the Prime Minister about the leadership and government as it effects its operations that would be in order. The Prime Minister could be questioned about the work of ministers in her administration and of cabinet, and ministers can be questioned about their work and their administration. As Speaker I have no desire at all to restrict members in their ability to hold the government to account, but I am obliged to ensure that they do so in a way that is consistent with the standing orders and the practice of the House. I would counsel all honourable members to observe my remarks.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:10): The Deputy Leader of the Opposition raises carbon pricing. Yes, I am in favour of putting a price on carbon and we achieved it last year against the opposition of those shouting out now. It is a bit interesting that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition asked this question, because she was in favour of pricing carbon until she decided that instead of being deputy leader to Malcolm Turnbull she would be deputy leader to the current Leader of the Opposition. She was in favour of pricing carbon until the minute she was against it. Let the record show the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has a track record of working alongside the member for Wentworth in support of a price on carbon. This question is motivated by pure hypocrisy.

On the question of problem gambling and making arrangements so that people are less likely to lose money that they cannot afford to lose and less likely to jeopardise their family's future, we faced a circumstance in which, because of the opposition of those who now seek to ask this question, there was not the support in this parliament for the scheme Mr Wilkie would have preferred. So instead we are bringing to the parliament the biggest package of reforms to address problem gambling the nation has ever seen. It remains to be whether or not the opposition will vote in favour of it or against it.

On the question of asylum seekers, heavens above, the opposition were all in favour of stopping the boats until they decided their political interests meant there should be more boats. If the opposition ever decides to put the national interest in front of their political interests, just let us know.

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:12): Mr Speaker, my supplementary question is to the Prime Minister and arises from her answer to my previous question. I remind the Prime Minister of her statement that, 'The 2010 election was sabotaged.' Is the Prime Minister claiming that all the faults of this government can be attributed to destabilisation by the member for Griffith and none to her own lack of judgment?

The SPEAKER: The supplementary question is ruled out of order.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: firstly, the Prime Minister is responsible for her own statements and, secondly, she is responsible for the conduct of her government. This goes directly to the attributing of blame for failures that have occurred under her government. Therefore she is responsible for answering the question.

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sturt will resume his seat. I call the honourable member for McEwen.