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Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Page: 3349

Day, Mr Bob, AO

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:32): My question is to the Prime Minister. Did the north-west college linked to Bob Day receive the amount they asked for, or did the government give this organisation linked to Bob Day more than they actually asked for? Is it normal process for this government to provide organisations more money than they asked for?

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my left! The Leader of the House on a point of order.

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry) (14:32): I was actually going to answer the question, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: I am sorry; it was the way you approached the despatch box.

Mr PYNE: I am happy to take a point of order, if you would prefer, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: The Minister representing the Minister for Education and Training has the call.

Mr PYNE: Apart from the fact that the college is called the North East Vocational College, as opposed to north-west—but I am prepared to overlook yet another bit of sloppy work by the Manager of Opposition Business on behalf of his leader, for which I would have been sacked when I was the Manager of Opposition Business, I can tell you, under the current member for Warringah—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr PYNE: who would never have put up with me making such a fundamental error. But let's pretend that the question was correct. The simple fact is that being lectured by the Labor Party on these matters shows a great audacity. The Leader of the Opposition has shown a preparedness to tell the great big Labor lie for most of his political career—in fact, the Mediscare campaign really took the cake. But, now, rather than focusing on the issues that mums and dads in Australia care about—things like energy prices, energy security, issues with their incomes through social security or tax cuts or how they are going to pay their mortgages on their homes, housing affordability or, in fact, even national security issues, like what is going on at the moment in Mosul, Raqqa and elsewhere in the world—the Labor Party is trying to blacken the name of former Senator Bob Day and cast aspersions on the reputations of senators.

It shows a particular audacity for the member for Maribyrnong, the Leader of the Opposition, to wade into the issue of who should or should not be in the Senate, because we all know that he has amongst his number Senator Kimberley Kitching sitting in the Senate representing Victoria right now.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order on direct relevance. The question went specifically to whether or not the amount given was more than the amount which had been requested.

The SPEAKER: I have listened to the point of order, and I am listening very carefully to the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Training's answer. As he well knows, being the Leader of the House, he has some ability to compare and contrast, but that cannot be all of the remainder of his answer.

Mr PYNE: I think the Manager of Opposition Business makes a reasonable point. I am surprised that I got that far. Nevertheless, I will come back to Senator Kitching later in question time, because there is quite a lot that people in the House of Representatives and the general public want to know about Senator Kitching.

The reality is that the North East Vocational College received exactly the same grant as every other college in the pilot program.

Ms Plibersek: Why was it more than they asked for?

Mr PYNE: I hear the member for Sydney interjecting about this issue.

The SPEAKER: None of us should be hearing the member for Sydney.

Mr PYNE: Quite right, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: If we hear the member for Sydney interjecting again, it will be the last.

Mr PYNE: It pains me to say, but her voice pierces above the rest of the ruck, Mr Speaker. This is the member who, when she was the Minister for Health, was responsible for the National Housing Affordability Scheme, NHAS, upon which hundreds of millions of dollars was spent to build housing for international students. The biggest group that accessed the National Housing Affordability Scheme, which was a scheme designed for low-income and homeless Australians, was international students. (Time expired)