Questions Without Notice
28 February 2018
The Hon. Mrs. Hillary CLINTON (Progressive Alliance - Parramatta)(Prime Minister)
I announce to the house that the Government has sent a letter to our European Councillor to announce that we rescind our neutral status and rejoin the rest of Europe in non-neutral status. We believe that, after our meeting with the Angleteric Prime Minister, Mr. Sam Courtenay, and the Cabinet as well as the top advisers of the National Security Council that it is in the interest of Australia to resume non-neutral policy.
Mr. Christian PORTER (National - Pearce)(Leader of the Opposition)
The Prime Minister has announced that Australia will no longer be a neutral nation, and has instructed our European Councillor to announce that on the floor of the European Council. Given that it was her party and Labor in alliance with the Greens and other smaller parties that forced the neutrality on us, will she admit that she got that policy idea wrong?
Mrs. Hillary CLINTON
No, I will not. It was a democratic vote of the Government within our party room, it was approved by the National Security Council at the time, but policies change. We are in a dangerous world. Since become neutral, we've had several threats made against Australia, nations torpedoing refugee boats, a terrorist attack in London, and a terrorist attack in Cheles, Omnibus. The world is getting more dangerous and we had to end it. We, of course, will welcome the honest scrutiny of defence policy by the Opposition on all sides of politics, but every Government must keep their citizens safe as a first priority.
Mr. Christian PORTER
Then, will the Prime Minister please update the house on the funding levels of the Australian Defence Forces and whether or not it is ready to suit the needs of a non-neutral status?
Mrs. Hillary CLINTON
As illustrated in Senate Estimates, the Australian Defence Forces receive 15% of all government funding to put it together, which should be around $300 billion, and the Treasurer will be looking at any funding increases we can make responsibly over the next period of Government. I wonder why the Leader of the Opposition is asking me these questions when it was his party that left us practically defenceless and unable to hold together our Defence Forces with savage budget cuts. They shout, but I have several budgets from 2012-2016 that prove that the previous Government was negligent and did not do their job appropriately.
Ms. Terri BUTLER (Labor - Griffith South)
The Prime Minister and her party have soared in the polls and have increased the trust that the Australian people have in Government. However, your coalition partners do wonder if this is all getting to her head. Will the Prime Minister rule out an early election and, if she does not, support the role that the Australian Labor Party have played in delivering a solid Government that works for all Australians, and not like the farce of the Turnbull-National Party Government.
Mrs. Hillary CLINTON
I do recognise and appreciate the highly important contribution the Australian Labor Party have made, not only to the stability of the Government by joining us, the largest party in the Parliament, in coalition but by presenting us with constructive ideas and presenting compromise in a pragmatic, sensible way. I cannot speak to things outside of the Progressive Alliance party room to any sort of election timetable, but do know that the relevant members of the Government will be notified of any change in the timetable as well as the President.
The Hon. Scott MORRISON (National - Cook)(Shadow Treasurer)
The Treasurer announced that the next budget proposed in May will be one that continues the economic competence of the coalition Government and will support the credibility of the Progressive Alliance as a third way between National and Labor. Given that the last budget trickled down the surplus left by the Turnbull Government to a couple of million dollars, does the Treasurer have any other displays of credibility and if so, what are they so this side of the house can avoid them?
The Hon. Mr. Wayne SWAN (Progressive Alliance - Lilley)(Treasurer)
I find it hilarious that the National Party have not given up the fact that they left us a budget deficit, not a surplus. That is a fact, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Treasury announced that for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. They said that we were handed a $2.3 billion deficit. We have now turned that into a $40 million surplus. That is a net gain of the entirety of that deficit into a small surplus, that will continue to grow as the Australian economy and therefore tax receipts grow. Now, let's contrast that with the National Party, the previous Government of Australia. They allowed the revenue they inherited from the Rudd-Gillard Government of 2008-2012 and managed to lose 8% of it over the course of their time. 8%...which caused a $2.3 billion budget deficit. Now, I know that the Shadow Treasurer is not the best with numbers, but that is a huge amount of money to be in the red. We on this side are getting on with fixing the mismanagement by the National Party, who have the gall to say they are the only party in Australia who is economically prudent and manage our economy well.
Volume 667Oral Answers to QuestionsEngagementsMr. Peter Bone (Liberal)(Wellingborough)Q1. Will the Prime Minister list her engagements for Wednesday, 27 June 2018The Prime Minister (Theresa May - Liberal)(Maidenhead)This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall have further such meetings later today.Mr. Peter BoneThe pub trade has been an important tradition across Britain, and I happened to be taking Mrs. Bone to a pub last night. Now, she got very excited when she found that our tab was lower due to this Government's policy of cutting beer duty. Will the Prime Minister join me in showing great support for Britain's historic pub trade?The Prime MinisterI am proud of the British pub industry, and it has been a core part of our identity for centuries. It was the last Labour Government that decided to run pubs into the ground, with nearly 100 closing across the United Kingdom over the last 5 years of it alone. We've been in Government for three years. (Interruption - cheers and jeers) I see that the Labour benches don't like that. I'm sorry that the British people rejected socialism and class warfare for optimism and strong Liberal values. We in Government back our small businesses and pubs, unlike the Labour Party, who would bankrupt them and bankrupt the backbone of our economy.Ms. Lisa Nandy (Labour)(Wigan)The Government has had three years of its Universal Credit scheme that the Prime Minister herself claimed would elevate families out of poverty and encourage people to go into work, and that the state pension would be fixed and WASPI women would see their reimbursement. The WASPI women are still waiting to see the state pension ages returned to their original state, and Universal Credit is not enough. Does the Prime Minister not care about these women?The Prime MinisterI care about all women and that is why we had to change the ages on state pension. Let's look at the issue of fairness here. Oh, calm down! The honourable Lady asks her question and then immediately tries to shout me down. Calm down, dear, I have your answer. (Cheers) I am proud to be Britain's second female Prime Minister and I will always campaign for fairness for women in the workplace and in society. That is why the Government has raised the age of state pension. Why should women be expected not to work as long as their male counterparts? That is institutional sexism, talking down women's contributions to society. So, I say to the WASPI women this: is it more equal to expect women across Britain to stop working 5 years before men or expect women to continue to earn more money at a lower tax rate for five more years, so they can put more money into their savings? That is true feminism; the feminism that expects women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts and held to the same standards.Ms. Emily Thornberry (Labour - Leader of His Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition)(Finsbury)I see the Prime Minister is claiming to be a champion of justice and equality. We'll see if that holds up by the end of these questions. The Prime Minister failed at last week's questions on refugees. Let's try a little closer to home. The Institute for Fiscal Studies have shown that in the last five years, there has been a slope downward in wages among people who live in the North. Ironically, the Prime Minister has touted the Northern Powerhouse. Unless North now means Milton Keynes, it seems as though all the development economically has been concentrated in London and the South East. Why is that?The Prime MinisterThe answer to your question is that the opposite is happening. Many government watchdog and economic thinktanks in Britain like the Adam Smith Institute have shown that wages have risen under this government across Britain, and in their fastest in the North. Now, I know the right honourable Lady has received her information from her friends at the Guardian and The Independent, but she is mistaken. Instead of getting your information from partisan cronies, why not look at the real facts.Ms. Emily ThornberryOh, so now my facts are not real? We are not living in the world of Dragan Trympov, Prime Minister. This is the United Kingdom and we have a free press that can and will hold you to account, just like I am doing today. Notice how she didn't answer my question in terms of economic development. That is what will give regions across the United Kingdom more growth in the future. Let's take a look at the projects she has approved: Crossrail 2, Crossrail 3, Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted expansion, London Grey Site Reclamation Project, M25 expansion. Notice how none of those projects get north of Greater London. Now, you might be able to fool Senator Hesseltine and the other bankrollers of the Liberal Party, but you aren't fooling me, Prime Minister. Why is ALL of your transportation and economic development stopping before we even get to Birmingham, with London getting £25 billion in new projects?The Prime MinisterYou know, the Leader of the Opposition is really quite something. She talks about how the Government is not investing in the North. What is the Tech Corridor for the University of Edinburgh or Trinity College, Dublin? Is that not an investment? What about the investment in nearly 20,000 small businesses across the United Kingdom, a majority of which are outside of London and the South East? What about the tax cut, an investment in our citizens and corporations to continue to spend money in the economy and power the small business revolution that we have presided over. Perhaps she is mistaking letting the people keep their money and statist intervention into the economy. I know where we stand, where does she?Ms. Emily ThornberryWe stand on the side of the people who are waiting outside food banks, the people who have been transplanted from their home country who need to feed their children, and the people who face systemic failings of our system when it comes to really helping them provide for their families and get what they need. That is the record of this Government. Notice how she turns the question on to me; I don't think the public are going to let you slide on that one, Prime Minister. How about this information: the Office for National Statistics state that in 2020, 1 out of every 7 British children will be in a home considered to be in working poverty. Accusing the Opposition of bogeyman terms is simply not enough, Prime Minister. What is the Government going to do to spread opportunity so that we can be a country that gives everyone a fair shot at prosperity?The Prime MinisterI have said already what the Government has done: we have cut personal income tax, we have raised personal allowance taking nearly 3 million of our lowest paid out of income tax altogether, we have crafted more free trade deals than Labour ever did in Government, we are reaching out to partners, allies, and newcomers alike to build the prosperity that is Britain in the European Union. What Labour wants to do is create a class war. We are not interested in such a thing. We believe that if we give everyone less restrictions and enable them to do more with their lives, prosperity will come. Labour want to take your money and make everyone poorer. Ms. Emily ThornberryPrime Minister, you are not answering the questions. What the Government has done is line the pockets of Britain's biggest corporations and richest individuals. Imagine the tax cuts for a moment and how much more significant a 5% tax cut on a £125,000 salary is...a £6,250 savings annually, or a 2% cut on a £30,000 salary, £600 on average. Why should our richest be asked to pay significantly less tax than those at the bottom of the tax rungs?The Prime MinisterThe tax code as put in place by Labour was not collecting the funds that they said they were collecting. Now, I will accept many things about the Government both good and bad, but I won't accept that we are responsible for giving away millions of pounds to corporations and individuals, when it was Labour who gutted HMRC. Ah! Oh yes, now they are upset. That is the truth. In 2005, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown cut 3,000 jobs from HMRC and relaxed tax policy enough to allow our highest earning individuals and corporations to not pay tax altogether. Contrast that to this Government, who has recovered record amounts of tax from offshore accounts, repatriated that money back to Britain and ensured corporations pay their fair share with no loopholes at a lower rate. It's Labour who want to give money back to the London champagne socialist elites that she pals around with and it is the Liberal Party who make sure ordinary people will get their money.The Speaker (John Bercow):Order! Now, I've told the House this many times. The questions will be heard and the answers will be heard, it's as simple as that. We will be here as long as it takes...as long as it....Ms. Finsley, calm yourself. You are a respectable and learned member of this House. Calm down, man! Ms. Emily ThornberryWhen Labour was in government, we put millions back to work with projects for infrastructure across the whole of the United Kingdom like the National Broadband Network. What has this government done? Pet projects in London and a tech corridor that no one will be able to really use. Real people in the North who have seen their livelihoods destroyed need help and retraining and the Government is not providing it. When will she learn she can't just let people fester and we are losing valuable productivity?The Prime MinisterAgain, it's laughable that a party that had 18 years in government that did nothing wants to criticise a Government that is actively working to better people's lives. Labour did nothing to help poor people in power, and we have lifted this country to its lowest levels of poverty since the 1950's. We will continue to run the country like we have been, getting more economic prosperity for all our people, and watch as Labour continues not to have a clue.Ms. Emily ThornberryIt is the Government that does not have a clue. Why is it that the Prime Minister of this country cannot see what she has done? I have been across London, Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and plenty of communities that were once bastions of industrial might that was Britain. Now they are slowly withering away with jobs that the people who worked in mines and in factories cannot work while the wealthy families of the South East continue to get all the attention and on average, they saw their wealth increase by 4% in the three years of this government, compared to the lowest earners in the North, in Wales' southern mining towns, and the fisheries of Scotland receiving 2% less than when the Liberal Party took office. Just goes to show you, they're the same old Tories of Margaret Thatcher. When will the Prime Minister listen and start working for these families?The Prime MinisterLike I said earlier, we will not take lectures from the Labour Party when the facts have shown that this is the fastest economic growth Britain has seen since the 1950's with record numbers of people in work. That is the key to getting people out of poverty, not state intervention. We are the party that knows how to run an economy. Labour will only damage the economy, threaten our future, and risk all of the hard work we have done in balancing the books. I shudder to think what this country would look like if she was in power.
Looks like your connection to NS European Union was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.