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.
Oral Answers to QuestionsEngagementsMr. Adam Afriyie (Liberal and Unionist Party)(Windsor)Q1. If the Prime Minister will list her engagements for Wednesday, 7 February 2018. The Prime Minister (Mrs. Theresa May - Liberal and Unionist Party)(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. Adam AfriyieWill the Prime Minister join me and my colleagues in the House in welcoming the new European Commission, headed by Angleter's Gisela Stuart, and hoping that they begin a trend that reverses the slide the region has taken in terms of engagement with the member nations?The Prime MinisterI do join my honourable friend in wishing the best of luck to Commissioners Stuart, Clinton-Mezvinsky and Drake. We also share the same hope that the European Commission can move our region forward and that a strong Europe in the world benefits not only the European Council and European Government, but each member state as well including our United Kingdom. Ms. Alison Thewliss (Scottish National Party)(Glasgow Central)The Prime Minister fought the election on seeking a mandate to stop a Scottish referendum, yet the UK Government has not received a majority share of seats in Scotland, and the SNP is the largest party representing Scottish seats to this House. Will the Prime Minister then allow a referendum to take place seeing as her Government does not have a majority of the seats in Scotland?The Prime MinisterI respect the will of the Scottish people in electing their representatives, though I will say....if the honourable Lady would listen to the answer to her question. I will say that this election was not held only in Scotland, but across the United Kingdom. The Liberal and Unionist Party are on this side of the House. The Social Democrats, the SNP are on that side of the House. We won, they lost. It's as simple as that. In our manifesto we said that we would not advocate for a divisive referendum in Scotland that would break up our precious union. We are one United Kingdom, and as the Prime Minister of His Majesty's Government, I will keep the union together. Mr. Stephen Lloyd (Progressive Reformists)(Eastbourne)Rail travel from my constituency of Eastbourne to the rest of the south and to London is crucial not only for the economic benefit of the area but acts as a crucial artery for the whole of the south of England. Why has the Government, then, allowed for rail times to get so bad that many of my constituents have complained of being nearly 45 minutes late to work and have had to leave as early as 5:00 in the morning just to make it to work late?The Prime MinisterI have taken this issue up with the Secretary of State for Transport and the Government views this as a serious issue. As a Crown Corporation, National Rail and its subsidiary services are sworn to provide an excellent service to the public and we will ensure that the public gets its investment back in a quality service. The Reformists seem to think that they have a monopoly on transforming public services, but I'd like to ask them....when were they last in Government? The country knows the answer and the honourable Gentleman would know as well.Sir Keir Starmer (Social Democrat and Labour Party)(Holborn & St. Pancras)The economic statistics are out and yet again this Government has failed to provide for working class and the poor in this country. Britain is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, yet we also have some of the poorest. The middle of our economy earns £53,000, but the poorest 10% on average earn £13,600 on average, compared to the top 10% earning nearly £160,000. Is this what the Prime Minister had in mind when she was elected and said she stood on the side of working people?The Prime MinisterThe Right Honourable Leader of the Opposition brings up the economic numbers. Did he bring up the numbers that said that Britain had another year of 3% growth in our economy, higher than expected GDP growth for advanced economies by 1%? Did he bring up reports that say this average income is the highest it has ever been for the British people in the history of this country, and that they are able to keep more of what they earn thanks to historically low taxes? Of course he didn't, because the Social Democrat and Labour Party want you to think one thing only: why don't I have what they have? The politics of envy and class warfare are alive and strong, and this side of the House will promote unity and self-determination.Sir Keir StarmerSelf-determination, like the kind she has given to Scotland on its independence referendum. You can tell whenever the Prime Minister doesn't like a question, because she backs away. She can't hurry up fast enough to get out of that last question. I will ask it again...is the top 10% earning over eleven times more than the bottom 10% what the Prime Minister had in mind when she said she was on the side of working people?The Prime MinisterI said I was on the side of working people and that the Liberals are on the side of working people, and I stand by it. Let's look at the Social Democrat's record when they ran the economy. Wages were at their lowest since the 1930's, the economy was slowing down every year until finally it ground to a halt. The value of the pound dropped until we took power, services were a mess, the NHS was underfunded and slow. We have delivered high quality services, increased the amount of money everyone made on average and cut taxes so that people can keep what they earn. I'd rather have this Government's record than the shambles of the party opposite.Sir Keir StarmerOh, but wait...whose party thought it would be better to spend more money on submarines than students? Whose party decided it would be better to line the pockets of millionaires than to make sure the lines outside of food banks have gone down? If she doesn't want to believe me, she can read the ONS paper herself. Since she doesn't seem like answering the question, let's try another one. People in northwest England, Ireland and Scotland are still waiting disaster relief from the winter storms that we have had at the end of 2017. That was November and December. We're already nearing the middle of February. How many more months do these families need to wait? The Prime MinisterWe are coordinating our efforts to make sure relief funds and supplies make it to the areas affected. I will say that I hope that the Leader of the Opposition will not make a political event out of this. Families who are in need and require help should not be pawns for politicians to use in order to make points about wider society, accurate or not. Sir Keir StarmerIt's not political posturing if we have already been months into extenuating circumstances in winter in the coldest region of the United Kingdom and people are still waiting for relief in rural and harder to reach areas and Government funds that were promised to people have not been received. That is holding Government to account, and this Prime Minister does not like it when I do my job as the Leader of the Opposition. So we've got a vague answer guaranteeing nothing for these families, many of whom are displaced and working for peanuts. Let's turn to the NHS. Has the Prime Minister seen what has been written about the NHS?The Prime MinisterIs this what Prime Minister's Questions is coming to now? The Leader of the Opposition has become the mouthpiece for the Guardian, the Independent, and a whole slew of left-wing media bias. Is this truly the best of what the Social Democrats have to offer? If it is, I wonder what new lows the Opposition will stoop to to try and get out of this mess. Sir Keir StarmerThe Government is in a shambles on the trains, it's in a shambles on trying to get relief to the thousands of storm victims, and it's in a shambles on the NHS as well. A new study commissioned by the NHS has shown that the Government has failed on all targets, and that there is a further £3 billion black hole. We have proposed in our manifesto a popular measure, a 5% tax that specifically goes to the regional NHS trusts and plugs up the £3 billion that we are missing in the budget there. But, of course, the Prime Minister shot that down and derided it. Now the Secretary of State for Health and the leader of the NHS Trusts says that we must consider a separate tax to cover the NHS budget. Will she listen to the experts, or will she force working families to pay the price with their health as well?The Prime MinisterOf course I will listen to the experts, but let's see who were the ones who ruined the NHS in the first place. When we came to power in 2015, we inherited a mess of a budget with deficits everywhere, but the same NHS Trusts wrote that "the previous Government had spent the NHS into the ground, overpromising and under-delivering on a wide array of services and supplies. It is only under the current Government that we have started to see improvement across all four nations in their NHS services and supplies". Let's ask...who was the previous Government. I'll give the Leader of the Opposition a hint, look behind you!Sir Keir StarmerShe fails to tackle the real issues, she fails to care about working people, and she will fail the British people if this Government is allowed to go unchecked. I asked my questions, I did my job, I asked her what she was going to do about real problems confronting people, and all she could give us was a couple of talking points. When will the Prime Minister buckle down and get to work?The Prime MinisterI am not going to be lectured by a man who has done nothing close to his job. He is supposed to scrutinise the Government, yet all I see is him reciting lines his mates at the Guardian have prepared for him already. In a world where alternative facts reigns supreme, the Leader of the Opposition is the King of the Alternative Fact. I answered his questions, and the proof is in the pudding. Wages, up. Employment, up. Security, the highest it has ever been. Taxes, the lowest they have ever been. Prosperity, the highest it has ever been in our country's history. Britain is not only succeeding, but she is thriving and is an example of what smart economic policies coupled with public spending prudence can do for a country. We are going to keep getting on with the job of Government while he can continue to fail at the job of leading a credible Opposition.
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