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Tuesday, 30 August 2016
Page: 33


Mr BURKE (WatsonManager of Opposition Business) (17:52): The program that has been put in front of us means that from budget week till the end of the year this government has 6½ weeks worth of agenda to fill—from the May budget through to the end of the whole year. Contrast this with what the Leader of the House said when he was on this side of the chamber. I quote the Leader of the House:

The people of Australia expect us to serve our electorates and legislate, not to spend 18 weeks here when we should be spending 20 or 21 or 22 weeks.

Know that for this entire year he is only going to make it to 13½ weeks. He said on the same occasion:

The government manage the schedule of business, and we are prepared—

and I agree with these words—

to let them keep on being incompetent. We will turn up. We will keep showing them up for the failures that they are. We will scrutinise them and hold them accountable right through to the next election.

So, while the opposition will not oppose this motion, we certainly place on record our dismay and disdain for the management of this House by the current Leader of the House. He later said:

Why doesn't it have to sit? There are two reasons. Firstly, it does not have a plan for the future for the Australian people. Secondly, it cannot rely on its numbers in the House to pass legislation to win a procedural vote.

Can I say that for this government there is a third reason: every time the parliament sits, its party room has to meet, and the last thing this Prime Minister wants is for all the members of the Liberal Party to ever be in the same room. Have you ever seen a mob, the first time they get back after an election, looking as miserable as they have looked today? This is when you are in government. This is meant to be your happy day—your happy moment. They have arrived with all the enthusiasm of the speech we heard next door where the subtitles were the highlight. For those opposite, if this is an indication of the agenda to come, if this is your achievement after an election when you come here with the enthusiasm for the Australian people, you can be assured there is an enthusiasm and a hunger to make a difference for this country from this side of the chamber, and we will be here for every moment of it.

Question agreed to.