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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 3135

Day, Mr Bob, AO


Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:38): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to reports that the government awarded a college linked to former senator Bob Day a $1.84 million grant, despite the fact he only asked for $1.4 million. Why did the government give the college almost half a million dollars more than was requested?


Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (14:38): I am delighted to answer this question. It is absolutely remarkable that the Labor Party—the party of the home insulation scheme, the party of the school halls debacle, the party of cash for clunkers, Fuelwatch, as the Deputy Prime Minister points out, and GroceryWatch—would have to gall to ask that question of this government. The member for Ballarat did not ask the question, and there is a good reason for that. There is a good reason the member for Ballarat did not come to the dispatch box to ask the question. They have the gall to ask us about one of our successful vocational education and training programs!

This program has been so successful that the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, visited North East Vocational College to see the good work they were doing, encouraging skills and training of our young people looking for work. But he is not the only person who has visited the North East Vocational College. Guess who else? Our old mate Tom Koutsantonis—

The SPEAKER: The minister knows the rule on props.

Mr PYNE: Tom Koutsantonis, the treasurer of the South Australian Labor Party, has been to visit the vocational education college as well.

So now the Labor Party has tried to cast aspersions on a successful vocational education college because it suits their base political purposes. Labor is not interested in outcomes for young people in skills and training. Labor is not interested in outcomes for jobs and growth and investment in our economy. The only thing this Leader of the Opposition is interested in is playing politics: politics on same-sex marriage, for example; politics on Medicare—frightening older people; politics on the backpacker tax right now in the Senate; and now politics on skills and training for young people.

There was absolutely no financial connection between former Senator Bob Day and the North East Vocational College. It went through all the normal processes that such a grant would go through and was awarded on its merits. The Labor Party stands condemned for trying to play politics with it.