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Tuesday, 17 August 1993
Page: 20

Senator FAULKNER (Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (4.10 p.m.) —It is ironic that the opposition that puts itself forward as the upholder of traditions yet again wants to dump another convention. I refer to the convention of not having a question time on budget day after an election. The Leader of the National Party, Senator Boswell, says that we have convened the Senate for a cup of tea. He has obviously by the look of him had a bit more than a cup of tea. The reason we have convened the Senate today is for the budget.

Senator Alston —Mr President, I raise a point of order. A personal reflection on a member of this chamber is completely out of order. Senator Faulkner ought to know that. He is starting off on a very poor note and I hope that he can lift his game. He ought to apologise to Senator Boswell for that outrageous slur. I know that Senator Boswell does not drink tea all the time, but he certainly does not deserve what Senator Faulkner has served up.

The PRESIDENT —Order! I do not regard the remark as unparliamentary, but it might be better if it were withdrawn or restated in another way.

Senator FAULKNER —I will withdraw. Senator Boswell did not have any cakes. As the opposition well knows, we have convened today not to have a cup of tea but to listen to the budget. The reality is that yet again we have an opposition interested only in negative carping. Those opposite are now nothing more than Her Majesty's loyal and perpetual opposition.

  All these programming matters were circulated to honourable senators, including the opposition, weeks ago. The draft red order of business that Senator Hill is now in high dudgeon about was received by him on 10 August but he is a bit thick and a bit slow to wake up. Apparently he has woken up today to the fact that, in accordance with precedence and convention, there is no question time. Under my signature as Manager of Government Business, we clearly indicated what the Senate program would be for this week, and those opposite all know it. This is just pathetic grandstanding from people who are destroyers not builders—the people who have decided that there is nothing left for them in Australian politics other than to be negative.

  It is quite clear that the opposition is not even going to make any pretence of aiming for a workable Senate or a workable chamber. In fact, those opposite are not even interested any more in worrying about what mischief they might put in place in the unlikely event that they ever win government. They are into spiteful, vindictive, self-serving actions to do nothing more than disrupt the government. The opposition is trying to punish the Australian people for re-electing the Labor government. That is all it wants to do. The opposition will never ever come to terms with its comprehensive rejection by the Australian people at the polls. Those opposite were done like dinners.

Senator Ian Macdonald —Don't tell lies.

Senator FAULKNER —Senator Ian Macdonald does not even know it. Those opposite are so stupid that they put in notices of motion congratulating themselves on how well they have done in the Senate. They ought to face facts. They lost the election. If their philosophy is that somehow they were robbed, they need to come to grips with the situation. Those opposite are a pathetic, miserable, negative, carping lot of no-hopers.