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Thursday, 27 June 2013
Page: 7266

Australian Labor Party

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:00): Madam Speaker, my question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister explain to this House why the events of last night were necessary, and will he end the uncertainty that they have created by confirming the date for the election?

Mr RUDD (Griffith—Prime Minister) (14:01): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. Let me go to the second part of his question first, which deals with the timing of the election. As the honourable gentleman knows, the timing of the election is governed by the Australian Constitution, and it is worth having a look at that document as it is the law that governs all Australians. Secondly, I would simply draw the Leader of the Opposition's attention to the fact that the practice of Prime Minister Keating, Prime Minister Hawke, Prime Minister Howard and Prime Minister Menzies was in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution to identify a date for an election. I will be no different to any of my predecessors.

The Leader of the Opposition again goes to questions of timing. I would draw his attention to facts which are material to the considerations of the government: (1) is the timing of the G20 summit in St Petersburg, scheduled for 6 and 7 September; (2) is the timing of the local government referendum; and (3), for the Leader of the Opposition, is the current coincidence of the election date with Yom Kippur. I will therefore go through these issues with my cabinet colleagues. The Leader of the Opposition can rest assured there is going to be an election, it will be held consistent with the Constitution and, if he has looked at the dates, there is not going to be a huge variation one way or the other—and it is for the Australian people to decide.

Mr Pyne interjecting

Mr RUDD: I look forward to contesting him in these elections on our alternative plans for Australia's future. Positive plans, not slogans.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:03): Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question of the Prime Minister.

A government member interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition has the call; the parliamentary secretary does not.

A government member interjecting

The SPEAKER: My friend from Tasmania! The Leader of the Opposition has the call.

Mr ABBOTT: Why should the Australian people accept that their right to choose their Prime Minister has been usurped by faceless men for the second time in just three years?

Mr RUDD (Griffith—Prime Minister) (14:03): I thank the honourable member for his question. Leader of the Opposition: in the four years that I was leader of the Australian Labor Party, I faced John Howard, I faced Brendan Nelson, I faced someone by the name of Malcolm Turnbull, and most recently, as the honourable member for Wentworth will recall, I faced Tony Abbott. I had four leaders in four years. These are matters for internal party deliberations in his party and in ours. Let us get onto questions about the country's future.