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Thursday, 5 February 2009
Page: 589


Mr TURNBULL (2:55 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation’s statement this morning that the coalition’s proposal to bring forward to January this year the already legislated tax cuts due to come into force from July 2009 and July 2010 represents a ‘discredited ideological policy mostly for higher income earners’. Given the finance minister’s statement later in the interview, ‘We are not going to allow that to occur,’ can the Prime Minister advise the House whether the government is proposing to repeal the 2009 and 2010 tax cuts?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —The really disappointing thing about this debate is that it is like watching high school debaters struggling. There is a real economic crisis out there. It is about how we actually seek to prop up demand in this economy now, at a time when it is collapsing globally—net export incomes are going through the floor, private sector investments are contracting and small businesses are contracting—and the real debate is about how you bring forward activity now, and you are having some esoteric debate about a transcript here and a transcript there about legislated tax cuts. I say to the Leader of the Opposition that it is time we saw real leadership from someone on that side of the House. We have seen some this morning from the Liberal Premier of Western Australia. I would say to the Leader of the Opposition, as he laughs nervously as the member for Higgins plans his dispatch, that he should focus on the national interest—


Mr Tuckey —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order going to relevance. The Australian people are entitled to know if he is going to cancel the—


The SPEAKER —The member for O’Connor will resume his seat. Has the Prime Minister concluded?