Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 11 May 2015
Page: 2730

Budget


Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:11): Mr President, my question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Abetz. Can the minister confirm that the Chief Government Whip, Mr Buchholz, has delivered a message to the Prime Minister's office that, if tomorrow's budget is received badly, the Prime Minister must sack the Treasurer or his own job will again be at risk?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:12): No, I cannot.


Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:12): Niki Savva clearly thinks that is the matter; she seems to be extremely well informed. But I ask a supplementary question: can the minister confirm that before Christmas the foreign minister urged the Prime Minister to sack the Treasurer?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:12): Here we are, the day before the federal budget, and where do the Labor Party get their questions from? The gossip columns in the newspapers. The gossip columns in the newspapers are the feedstock for the Labor Party's question time in this place. When we were promised by the Leader of the Opposition that 2015 would be the year of ideas, what are their ideas? To trawl through the gossip columns of the newspapers and ask questions and say, 'Is this bit of tittle-tattle true?' rather than asking, 'How can we help the government restore the economy?'

The PRESIDENT: Pause the clock. Senator Moore, a point of order?

Senator Moore: Thank you, Mr President. Again it goes to direct relevance. The minister was asked a particular question about confirming a statement; he has not gone even close to making an answer to that question.

The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Moore. I remind the minister of the question. He has 21 seconds in which to answer.

Senator ABETZ: Mr President, I thought I had answered it very clearly. Just in case I have not, for the benefit of Senator Moore, let me say: this is a government that does not engage in the gossip columns of the newspapers and rely on the sort of tittle-tattle that the Labor Party use as their stock in trade. What we do is: we get on with the business of fixing the economy. (Time expired)






Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:14): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Does the minister agree with the cabinet colleague who was quoted in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph that the Treasurer is 'the hole at the heart of the Abbott government'? Can he confirm that the Treasurer will be shifted from his position before August, in a deal reached between the Prime Minister and the Minister for Social Services?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:14): Here we go again, a third attempt at relying on gossip columns to ask questions. Can I say yet again: what is the source? 'An unnamed source.' It always is with the Labor Party. When they want to deal with the issues of gossip, we on this side want to deal with the issues of repairing the economy, reducing the cost of living and getting on with the job of creating jobs for our fellow Australians. That is what we are focused on. That is what we dedicate ourselves to. And the budget tomorrow night will indicate that we have been concentrating on job creation rather than tittle-tattle creation.

The PRESIDENT: Pause the clock. Senator Moore, a point of order?

Senator Moore: Mr President, again it is on direct relevance. I look back with pleasure on the minister's first answer, which was a straight response to the question. I ask you to draw his attention to the question.

The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Moore. The minister has 15 seconds in which to complete his answer.

Senator ABETZ: When a senator is unable to name the source and just relies on some sort of gossip column—

Senator Kim Carr: He did name the source.

Senator ABETZ: The source is 'unnamed'; that is pretty accurate, isn't it! That is typical of Labor policy formulation.

The PRESIDENT: Pause the clock. A point of order, Senator Carr?

Senator Kim Carr: On a point of order, on relevance: the question was about a cabinet colleague quoted in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday. The source was clearly named.

The PRESIDENT: That is not a point of order; that is a debating point. Minister, have you concluded your answer? You have two seconds.

Senator ABETZ: Simply to repeat: 'unnamed, unsourced'.