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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3113

Future Fund

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:49): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation's statement that David Gonski 'did not make any recommendations regarding the appointment of the new chair of the Future Fund Board of Guardians'. Given that yesterday Mr Gonski stated, 'The board said they wanted an insider and they designated by majority that the insider was Peter Costello,' a view he conveyed to the minister, how does the Prime Minister explain this contradiction?

Mr Danby interjecting

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

The member for Melbourne Ports then left the chamber.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:50): To the shadow Treasurer: we appointed Mr Gonski because he was the best person for the job. The shadow Treasurer authorised a press release welcoming the appointment. Senator Wong, the relevant minister, has explained the appointment process. To the shadow Treasurer, I would say that it seems to me quite a remarkable thing that, when the opposition has welcomed an appointment, now apparently it is coming into this parliament in defence—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat. The honourable member for North Sydney on a point of order.

Mr Hockey: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, the minister for finance is completely at odds with David Gonski about the recommendation process.

The SPEAKER: What is the point of order?

Mr Hockey: Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister is not answering the question she was asked.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will be directly relevant. The Hon. Prime Minister continues to have the call.

Ms GILLARD: The appointments process here was an appointments process that got the best person for the job. Peter Costello was appointed by this government to the Future Fund, but he was not the best person for the job, for the role of chair; David Gonski was. If the Liberal Party wants to repudiate the press release of the shadow Treasurer and the shadow finance minister and go on a jobs-for-Liberals campaign, so be it.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will address the specifics of the question.

Ms GILLARD: We engage in merit based selection, and the merit based selection gave us David Gonski. He is the best person for the job.