House of Representatives Official Hansard

  • 26 August 2016

    The SPEAKER (Anna Burke - Progressive): The time for members' statements is over. Now it's time for Questions without notice. The Leader of the Opposition.

    Leader of the Opposition (Christopher Pyne - Conservative): Thank you, Madam Speaker. my question is to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was called to the Australian Federal Police and questioned about her involvement in the Clinton Foundation and whether or not she used the Office of the Prime Minister to achieve an advantage for her husband's organisation. The Prime Minister last week in the Parliament said she was not involved in any way. The Australian and the Daily Telegraph have reported that the Prime Minister may have, in fact, used the Office of the Prime Minister to advance a Clinton Foundation credit that was used to help car maker Holden. Why has the Prime Minister lied to the Parliament about her involvement?

    The Prime Minister (Hillary Clinton - Progressive): Madam Speaker, I have not in fact lied to the Parliament and I ask that the Leader of the Opposition withdraw the remark.

    Leader of the Opposition: Madam Speaker, I will withdraw the statement and I seek leave to move a motion that so much of standing and sessional orders be suspended that would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving the following motion forwith: that the House censure the Prime Minister for the following: a) forming a government with a coalition that was not processed in time by the Australian Electoral Commission to be put on the ballot as a coalition choice, b) lying to the Parliament about her involvement in the Clinton Foundation - Holden scandal, and c) lying to the Parliament about her emissions trading scheme not being a tax on carbon.

    The Prime Minister did not consult the Australian Electoral Commission before cobbling together he coalition government, and now she is trying to circumvent prosecution and a new election by forming one party out of the First Nations and Greens. An illegal move by an illegitimate government in the eyes of electoral law. But that's just like this Prime Minister, as we can see. It's a pattern of behaviour of her and her husband; backroom dealings and advancing policy for her and her family's benefit, not for the Australian people.

    This is the Prime Minister who, on the 7:30 programme, said to Leigh Sales that she did not have anything to do with the Clinton Foundation and Holden, yet Sales, the SMH, and the Telegraph have all reported that the Prime Minister's Office was using the office to....listen, Madam Speaker, to the Government try and shout me down. You can't shout down corruption, Madam Speaker, and I stand to oppose this blatant corruption of our political system.

    The Prime Minister has been found that she has lied to the Parliament and she did maintain a role in the dealings. A deal that was worth $20 million dollars, Madam Speaker. That is a huge benefit for a non-profit organisation to claim as funds delivered to Holden, when in fact, those funds were delivered to the Clinton Foundation as part of a slush fund.

    She also lied about her emissions trading scheme when we called it out for what it was: a carbon tax. She trotted out the Greens, the Environment Minister, and so called independent institutions on the Clinton Foundation payroll to justify her programme. She is willing to do anything to consolidate power, including backroom dealings, money under the table, and the dark arts of Canberra.

    Standing orders should be suspended so that the House can deliver a verdict on the Prime Minister and her corrupt, illegitimate government.

    The Speaker: Is leave granted?

    The Leader of the House (Anthony Albanese - Progressive): Leave is granted.

    The Speaker: Leave is granted.

  • The Speaker: The Honourable Leader of the Opposition.

    Leader of the Opposition: The Clinton Government shouldn't even exist, Madam Speaker. Under regulation from the AEC, all coalitions must be demonstrated with proper notification to the public When has it ever been appropriate that a day before the election, ABC Radio National's Breakfast programme be the ones responsible for publicising that Hillary Clinton will enter a coalition government with the Greens and First Nations should she not pass the threshold required. It should have been announced to the Australian Electoral Commission before the election is called, and stated in the Parliament, or in the Prime Minister's case before the election, the Senate specifically. Madam Speaker, I looked through the Senate hansard and there is absolutely nothing in regards to Mrs. Clinton and her coalition in there. This is but one example of the corrupt disregard for the standing of the Parliament.

    The Prime Minister this week has answered questions from this side of the House in regards to her dealings with her husband's non-profit organisation, the Clinton Foundation. There was exactly eight different occasions between questions from myself, the Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, the member for Warringah, and others in the House asked whether or not she used the PMO for the financial gain of the Clinton Foundation and by extension her husband, and the Prime Minister denied those claims each time. On the 7:30 programme, she went on camera and said to the Australian people that, and I quote, "neither her nor her husband have done anything in the Clinton Foundation that would compromise her or her government". Well, Madam Speaker, today the Telegraph called her out through simple search of public records. The Clinton Foundation received at least $20 million from carmaker Holden from their headquarters in Sydney. Guess where Holden is located? In the Prime Minister's constituency! Ah! But that's not all. There are reports that there are emails that detail that Holden, in exchange for that sizeable donation, wanted access to both the Prime Minister and her husband. Companies buying power from the Prime Minister...but no, she's never participated in such dealings, Madam Speaker. Well, the House will not be fooled and it is our duty to make this Prime Minister stand up and be accountable for her actions. If this is just one transaction, imagine all of the favours she's cashing in for the Clinton Foundation so they can buy more property that the Prime Minister can vacation to during the year. Who cares about honest government when you can vacation in the wine country of Australia or how about a good old trip to the Monte Carlo vacation home, Madam Speaker? Mrs. Harbour Side Mansion herself, and she's trading all of her integrity to live the life of the rich and powerful.

    Finally, this is a government that can't even deliver on its promises when it's in its honeymoon period. The Prime Minister stood in the debates before the election and told the Australian people two things: the Progressives were not just another wing of the Labour Party and that she would not come down with a carbon tax. Hmmm, does that sound familiar? The former Labour Prime Minister and former Member for Lalor said that, Madam Speaker. It seems as though this Prime Minister had the nerve to copy the Labour playbook, but instead of waiting one year to begin breaking promises, she just did it right off the bat. And she's done it in style as well. This is not only a carbon tax, but it is a whopper of a carbon tax, Madam Speaker in the same vein of the former Member for Lalor, I might add. Here she is, already talking about an emissions trading scheme which of course means higher energy prices, lower industry productivity and factories closing across Australia. It would mean the end of our mining industry.

    But contempt for the people of Australia is what this Prime Minister represents, Madam Speaker. She didn't care that all of the preceding issues were ones that would compromise her position and taint every action of her government and this Parliament. She was looking out for herself. Greed and corruption is what the Clinton Government stands for...greed, corruption, and illegitimacy. She tries to tidy it up by combining her sham coalition into one party in time for the Northern Territory election because NT does not subscribe to postal votes. She deflects from what is at the heart of this government, Madam Speaker, and that is this Prime Minister and her character. Behaviour at the top trickles down to the rest of the government, Madam Speaker, which means that in any moment, the Government will be looking like a ponzi scheme.

    The Speaker: Is the motion seconded? (Motion was not seconded) The Prime Minister

    The Prime Minister: Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I rise to oppose the motion by the Leader of the Opposition, and in so doing state that I will not be lectured to by the Conservative Party about integrity and honesty. Let's remind ourselves where we were twelve months ago when the Member for Wentworth was Prime Minister. The Australian economy was stagnating, it was not diversifying. The banking sector was poised to tighten their monopolised grip on the Australian community. Relations between our Aboriginal brothers and sisters was reaching a boiling point due to the Turnbull Government's policies on policing and relations with the Aboriginal community. A government that was going to cost the Australian people $5,000 per person per year in debt. This government has inherited a budget deficit despite the Conservatives lying about this time and time again in the Parliament. So, Madam Speaker I move that the previous statement from the Leader of the Opposition be struck from record, and these words be put in their place: the Prime Minister moves to make a motion of censure against the Leader of the Opposition on account of the Leader of the Opposition defaming the character of the Prime Minister and disparaging the Government with unfounded claims and outright lies.

    You see, Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition doesn't care that he's right. He just cares that he takes this chair, Madam Speaker. He wants to be Prime Minister more than he wants to be correct. He has accused me of saying anything and doing anything to become Prime Minister while I am the one who did anything to get power. All I did was take our agenda, the Progressive agenda that the Australian people voted for, to an election and win. The Leader of the Opposition, on the other hand, has nothing to grasp on.

    His election to his position was based on nothing but the Conservative Party running away knowing that I was Prime Minister and that I am not going to play the Tory and Labour games with them. I am going to get stuff done because that is what all people in the Parliament are charged with doing. This side of the House is not held at ransom by right wing members or militant trade unions. We will govern with the integrity that the Progressive Party represents. Furthermore, Madam Speaker, the characterisation made by the Leader of the Opposition about me is completely unfounded and just reflects that he is a mouthpiece of the right wing media conspiracy that has been on my back since I became a politician in 1992. He has no policies, the Conservatives have no policies? We have been growing the economy and getting on with the job we were given by the electorate. He is simply interested in trying and failing at one line phrases and baseless claims. He may continue to live in the past and try to keep Australia back, but we on this side of the House are looking to advance Australia.

    The Speaker: The Prime Minister's time has expired. The House will now vote on the motion of censure of the Government. All those in favour (aye), those opposed (no). A division is required.

    Result of the division:

    Aye: 100

    No: 219

    Abstain: 11

    The Speaker: The motion is resolved in the negative. Standing and sessional orders will now resume as outlined in today's notice paper and order paper..

  • 23 September 2016

    The Speaker (Anna Burke - Progressive): The time for members' statements is over; now it's time for questions without notice. The Leader of the Opposition

    The Leader of the Opposition (Christopher Pyne - Conservative, Sturt): Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is to the Prime Minister. Given that the Office for Parliamentary Budget Responsibility has released information that the federal budget proposed by the Clinton Government will result in a budget deficit that could be upwards of $10 billion by budget week next year, will the Prime Minister explain why the Government has not been serious about maintaining the budget surplus we have left them?

    Prime Minister Hillary Clinton (Progressive - Parramatta): Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the honourable member for his question. We have been through this issue already, so it already shows you where the Conservatives are in forming their credible alternative government. On this side of the House, when we got the official figures, we had been left with a deficit by the Conservatives, not a surplus. It was a $3 billion deficit, because while they balanced the books on paper, in real terms, the budget was still in deficit. They forgot that we had to implement ideas! So the budget figure that mentions that we have a budget deficit is the same budget deficit we inherited, but rather we fully costed our programmes. We took our modest budget deficit to the electorate, and they voted for it. They can try all they can to discredit me, discredit this Government, but it has the stamp of approval from the electorate. And, might I add, our side had an extraordinary victory in the Northern Territory. A victory that has cemented our party in Australian politics, and both the Conservatives and Labour are trying to discredit, disprove, and disavow us. But, Madam Speaker, we will continue to deliver our progressive agenda and deliver for the Australian people.

    The Speaker: The Prime Minister's time has expired. The Member for Isaacs...

    Mr. Mark Dreyfus (Labour - Isaacs): Thank you, Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education. Minister, will you update the House on education spending, particularly as it relates to the Gonski review?

    Minister for Education (Brendan O'Connor - Progressive): I thank the Member for Isaacs for his question. Madam Speaker, the honourable Member will know that the Gonski review was something that was set into motion by our current President when she was the Prime Minister. Every government has had to decide whether or not to follow the recommendations in terms of spending. This Government, upon consultation from the states and territories on education, has decided to keep the funding, but distribute it on a much more even, per capita basis with further block grants made available to schools who petition the Commonwealth. That is fairer instead of the 27 different deals that the former Labour Government did with the states and territories, and fairer than the Conservative Government, the Turnbull Government, that tried to gut education. We have made this decision carefully, in Cabinet, and now it is government policy. What is shocking to me is that Labour spent all that money in 2008-2009 on building random, useless rooms in schools and mismanagement of government funds in terms of education...yet their side (Labour members interjecting). Oh yes! Let's look at the record of the previous Labour Government! The Leader of the Labour Party when he was Prime Minister engaged in a building programme which delivered zero results in education, according to national statistics. Zero results! It was a farce, Madam Speaker. An absolute farce.

    The Speaker: Order! The Minister for Education & Youth Development has made his point and will return to his seat. The Member for Griffith (Kevin Rudd - Labour) knows better. He will not interject. The Member for Isaacs! There is far too much noise in the chamber. The Member for Macarthur.

    Dr. Mike Freelander (Progressive - Macarthur): Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is to the Treasurer. Could the Treasurer update the House on the Government's programme for delivering an economy that works for all?

    Treasurer Wayne Swan (Progressive - Lilley): Madam Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question. His is a question that we need to hear more often in this chamber, and one I wish to hear more often from across the House. Madam Speaker, we are continuing to look at reducing taxes for low and middle income families across Australia, including a reduction in income tax by 2% by 2018 for those in the lowest brackets. We are costing that out by increasing capital gains tax on individuals and businesses who earn more than $1 million in capital gains. We are also cutting business tax for those businesses who are smaller than $8 million while increasing it for those who are above $20 million. It is a balanced, sensible plan, one that will continue to help small businesses, the economic drivers of our economy, to create jobs while asking the most well off to pay their fair share.

  • Volume 119

    Questions Without Notice

    24 October 2016

    Ms. CLAYTON (Wentworth - Progressive Alliance)

    My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on the Government's plan for economic fairness and equality of opportunity.

    Mrs. Hillary CLINTON (Parramatta - Prime Minister)

    I thank the member for her question. It is a good question, one that gets to the point of the Government's policies. That is economic fairness. Now, the Conservative members opposite had 5 years in Government to fix the issues of the country, but they couldn't. Let's take a look at the economy that was left for this Government: record levels of inequality, wages suppressed by bad policies, continued investment in old economic models that weren't fit for the 21st century, all in the name of pleasing their base. We have taken the steps necessary to make a more efficient economy that is more equitable. It was us who put into place the Australian Public Infrastructure Bank, which has returned the balance of power from the federal government to the states in terms of--

    Opposition members interject

    They're interjecting, Madam Speaker! Yes, I welcome it, because we're the ones doing the job of modernising and rebalancing the economy!

    The SPEAKER (Anna Burke - Progressive)

    Before I continue with the Prime Minister, the level of interjections is far too....the member for....the Manager of Opposition Business is warned. The level of interjection is far too loud, and I cannot hear the Prime Minister's answer. It is not something that the public like, and it is not something that I like. The Prime Minister will resume her answer.

    Mrs. CLINTON

    Thank you, Madam Speaker. Yes, we are getting on with the job of rebuilding the economy. We have put in the Australian Citizens' Income reform, we have promoted new industries and start-ups with new tax credits. Average salaries have gone up, above $32,000 for the first time in 10 years. Employment is at a record high at 77.9%, with student populations making up 5% of Australians. We have a productive economy, with full workforce participation. That's this Government delivering for the Australian people.

    Mr. Christopher PYNE (Sturt - Leader of the Opposition)

    Madam Speaker, on the 7:30 programme last week, the Prime Minister ruled out the idea of a tax increase for middle income families during her tenure as Prime Minister. She said, and I quote "middle income families deserve to have a leg up in our economy, and our Contract for Australia will be based around fairness and opportunity for all rather than breaks for the wealthy". Well, the Prime Minister has gone back on her promise when she instituted the carbon tax. She will be effectively raising an average of $75 a month, a $900 tax on every Australian household. Will she admit that she has broken her promise?

    Mrs. CLINTON

    Thank you, and I thank the honourable member for his question. I find it quite interesting that the Leader of the Opposition, who decided that to pay for the previous Government's tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, the Conservatives tried to pass off the $20 billion dollar budget shortfall through hidden increases in GST and other taxes that disproportionately fall on middle income and lower income families, so I would remind him that he should get his own fiscal policy house in order before trying to lecture the Government on the issue.

    Mr. Kevin RUDD (Griffith - Leader of the Labour Party)

    Madam Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer comment on the Parliamentary Budget Office's report that the Government will miss its spending target by more than $500 million. How will the Government plug this black hole in the budget?

    The TREASURER (Wayne Swan - Lilley)

    Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I welcome the question from the Member for Griffith. Let's look back at the Rudd Government's record on the budget. The biggest peacetime deficit the country has ever known, the biggest spending on vanity projects like pink bats for 30 years, budget cuts to Border Protection. It's a disaster, Madam Speaker, and I find it utterly shocking that the Member for Griffith, who spent his time in the 23rd Parliament fighting one Julia Gillard for control of his, then hers, then his Government. Then, as Leader of the Opposition, could not put together a credible government because of yet more back and forth between the Member for Griffith and the current President. He must have been so happy to get her out of his hair once she was voted by the Parliament to be Australia's first president. So relieved he was, Madam Speaker, that he zombie walked through an election that was Labour's to win. He got his policies wrong, Labour has spent its time infighting, and now the Progressive Alliance has stepped up to the plate as the credible governing party out of the system. Labour is losing its support in Queensland, and I have authority to say that when it comes to Queensland...


    The Manager of Opposition Business?

    Mr. Barnaby JOYCE (New England - Manager of Opposition Business, Conservative)

    This is on a point of relevance, Madam Speaker. The Treasurer was asked about the budget black hole, the poisonous carp in the Government's fiscal river. Instead of cleaning up the carp and answering the question, the Treasurer has just gone on attacking Mr. Rudd.


    I have given rulings on preambles to answers in the past, and while the Treasurer was being perhaps too self-indulgent, he is allowed to have a preamble. I will just ask the Treasurer to end the preamble and get on with the answer.

    Mr. SWAN

    Thank you, Madam Speaker, and isn't it ironic that the two major parties since federation in 1901 decided to help each other out once the third party achieved Government. Anyway, Madam Speaker, I will tell him what we are doing on the subject of the budget. We're promoting policies to grow the economy. We've had extraordinary economic growth in the last 5 months, more than the last year of the Turnbull Government, and we will continue to push our policies and our agenda through the House and in the Senate. But doesn't this tell you everything we need to know about the shallow, hypocritical, incorrect scare campaign by those opposite?

    Ms. MACKLIN (Jaga-Jaga - Progressive Alliance)

    My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs. Will the Minister update the House on the Government's policy for tackling climate change, and how it relates to building the new, sustainable economy?

    Mr. BANDT (Melbourne Ports - Minister for Environment, Energy, Resource & Rural Affairs)

    Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank the honourable member for her question. As she knows, the Clinton Government is committed to reducing our carbon footprint by 50% in the 2030-2031 fiscal year and 25% by 2020. These targets will be met with the largest investment in solar power through the private sector in Australia, investment in research and development in Australia, and by expanding the capacity of each of the state grids in tandem with the state and territory governments. That, of course, will be provided by the Australian Public Infrastructure Bank, the great innovation made by the Prime Minister and the Clinton Government. We will be able to power every Australian home with either nuclear power, solar power, or wind power by 2030...a feat which will see our entire electrical grid become carbon neutral. An extraordinary feat for our country.

  • Volume 119

    Questions Without Notice

    1 December 2016

    Mrs. CLINTON (Prime Minister - Parramatta)(APP)

    For this period of Questions Without Notice, I would like to inform the House that the Minister for Foreign Affairs will be absent from Question Time, due to personal matters. The Leader of the House, the Member for Watson (Mr. Tony Burke) will answer questions on his behalf. Thank you.

    Ms. LINDA BURNEY (Barton)(APP)

    Will the Prime Minister update the House on her plans to bring social justice reform, including the planned Native Title Court and how that will give all Australian citizens a fair chance at justice throughout our country.

    The Prime Minister

    I thank the Member for her question. The Government has set out a three point plan for social justice reforms in Australia. The first being the establishment of the Native Title Court so that all Australians can have a fair trial, and that we ensure that we do not simply destroy and abandon our aboriginal Australian communities who have chosen to live the life that their ancestors have. Their existence is key to the very identity that it is to be Australian, whether you are descendants of those Aboriginal Australians, or if you are descendants of British colonists and convicts. Our country cannot allow for either pastoralists, miners, or aboriginal communities to be held higher than the other. We must find common ground for prosperity. This Native Title Court will establish the opportunity to have that common ground. The second is criminal justice reform, particularly when it deals with black Australians and other minorities. This issue has gotten out of hand, and we have young aboriginal men doomed to a life of imprisonment, poverty, and degradation. It is a crime and I have ensured that the Minister for Justice, Senator Brown, will launch an inquiry into the criminal justice system in conjunction with the Minister for First Nations, States and Territories. Third, we will resist changes to 18C in the Racial Discrimination Act. It is reprehensible that we would answer the call from One Nation and the right-wing of the Conservative Party to completely open up our social sphere in this multicultural society behind the guise of free speech. Speech in Australia is already free, but it should not be tolerated as a society to simply say things just to inflame and offend. The Government and indeed the people of Australia do not subscribe to this libertarian free speech that the Opposition now espouse.

    Mr. CHRISTOPHER PYNE (Leader of the Opposition - Sturt)(Conservatives)

    Yesterday, the Treasurer was interviewed on Sky News and he had this to say about his budget: "The budget is sound, grounded in Keynesian policies at a time where we want to stimulate economic growth in Australia through investment and partnership in the private sector. We will do so in a responsible manner, delivering a higher quality Australia". Today, the Parliamentary Budget Office said about the federal budget: "its foundation in fiscal policy is loose, at best, and its effect on the economy will be negligible. The economic activity that was put before the Office will most likely happen in spite of the Government's budget". Will the Prime Minister listen to the independent watchdog and fix her mistakes in next year's budget before she spends us into further debt and deficit?

    The Prime Minister

    Another day, another incorrect statement from the Leader of the Opposition. What he is seeking to do is mislead the Australian people. He would be reminded that this is not the statement made by the Parliamentary Budget Office, but in fact the Tax Responsibility Office, which is not an office from...the Opposition tries to shout me down, but the irony is that they're a donor to the Conservatives and a well-known Conservative think tank. The Opposition and the Government are very different in how we pursue economic reform. The Government believes in making sensible investment into people, into infrastructure, and into the economy. The Opposition, when they were in Government, cut investment by a third over the course of the last Parliament, they cut infrastructure, they stifled economic growth in the name of adhering to a monetary policy that hurt Australian families. The difference is very clear.

    Mr. KEVIN RUDD (Griffith)(Leader of the Labour Party)

    The Government has passed its Australian Public Infrastructure Investment Bank (APIIB), and gave it an initial investment of $60 billion. The Queensland Government has had many projects that the Government has said it would partner with Queensland on, yet the Minister for First Nations, States and Territories wrote back to the Queensland Premier that she will have to wait until the APIIB is functional in January of 2017 where the APIIB will determine how much money the bank will invest into the projects. If this is her idea of stimulating the economy through infrastructure projects, projects that have now been put in jeopardy and costing good paying Australian jobs, what else does the Treasurer have planned?

    The Treasurer (Wayne Swan - Lilley)(APP)

    I welcome the question from the Leader of the Labour Party. You know, I had a little bit of whiplash when I heard this question. This couldn't have been from the Leader of the Labour Party, the same Leader who along with Julia Gillard presided over a Government that had half-baked ideas. Pink bats, boats, and reckless spending that nearly crashed the whole economy. While it started out with good ideas...ideas taken from the Progressive Party's mainfesto at the time...the Rudd-Gillard Government quickly descended into infighting and chaos. How can you run an economy if you can't even run a Cabinet meeting?

    Ms. EMMA HUSAR (Lindsay)(APP)

    My question is to the Minister for Finance, Work, and Regulation. Will the Minister update the House on the Government's action on the economy in relation to job security and mortgage regulation?

    Minister for Finance, Work, and Regulation (Rob Oakeshott - Lyne)(APP)

    I thank the Member for Lindsay for her question. She is clearly looking out for the members of her constituency. She's got a handle on the situation there, and so has the Government. We have been watching carefully the mortgage industry as house prices continue to rise in the areas around Sydney and Melbourne. The housing prices there indicate that a bubble has been in the housing markets there, and the Government is in consultation with the housing and mortgage industry as to the best manner we can assure that we deflate the bubble before it bursts and creates a different kind of housing crisis, including policies in zoning that will promote more affordable housing in Lindsay and across Australia's major cities. As for job security, we are balancing the need to let the economy grow in the private sector and managing the public sector jobs at the federal level so that we continue to see jobs pop up. Our goal of sustaining job growth that is 95% private sector has been met for this calendar year, and we will continue to ensure that the economic policies we put in place will sustain economic growth and job security so that everyone has the chance to achieve good paying work.

  • Volume 119

    Questions Without Notice

    23 March 2017

    Mr. Christopher PYNE (Conservative)(Sturt)

    The Government's higher education plan, the Australian Master Plan for Higher Education, has been seen by high school and university teachers across the country, and despite the Government's attempts to put words in their mouth, governors and head teachers are speaking out. The vice-chancellor Warren Beddingfield stated "the Master Plan for Higher Education will take decisions out of the hands of university heads and over-saturate the university population, causing a decrease in service to the public". Will the Prime Minister abandon this shambles of a plan?

    The Prime Minister (Hillary Clinton - Progressive)(Parramatta)

    I thank the honourable member for his question, but I am confused as to his motivation. Let's take a look at the last Conservative government of 2012-2016 and what they said about higher education. The Senator for South Australia, Simon Birmingham said "the biggest challenge facing our young people is the lack of educational opportunities in Australia to help better their lives and further their careers". The former Prime Minister, the Member for Wentworth, said that "affordable education is one of the highest priorities for any government of Australia". So what has changed? Could it be the fact that they are struggling in the polls with their primary vote being taken by One Nation? Could it be that they have no plan of their own to tell the millions of young people who go thousands of dollars in debt to get vocational or academic higher education that their debt issues aren't important? We on this side of the House value the youth of our country, and we have a plan to eliminate going $80-100,000 in debt, fully costed, and ready for the next budget.

    Mr. Richard MARLES (Labor)(Corio)

    My question is to the Treasurer. The Australian Financial Review said that the Government would fall about $3 billion short on tax revenue for the 2016-2017 financial year. While it is revised up from what it was anticipated to be, it is still a $3 billion black hole. What is the Treasurer going to do about his hole in the nation's finances?

    The Treasurer (Wayne Swan - Progressive)(Lilley)

    We will hand down a budget in May. A budget that will be fully costed, including a $3 billion payment on the 2016-2017 budget. We are working with our friends in the Duxburian Union in regards to corporate profits, as well as others in the United Kingdom, Angleter, and Aalen. We will be sure to prioritise our nation building agenda, something that the Labor Party used to stand for in the 40s all the way until 2007. Then what happened? I think the fact that the Member for Griffith, the former Prime Minister, the Leader of the Labor Party became Leader of the Opposition and lurched the party into the direction of Conservative Light. We have offered the people who were seeking a true opposition to the Conservatives an alternative. A fiscally responsible alternative putting the needs of the Australian people first, not just capitalising on the name of John Howard. We will not take lectures from the Labor Party on how to run a country when they ran Australian $200 billion into the red in 2008-2012. Fiscally irresponsible, endangered the future, and allowed the Conservatives back into power after one term. One term of a Labor government was enough.

    John Alexander (Conservative)(Bennelong)

    My question is to the Minister for Education. With the Minister of Education writing the white paper for the Master Plan for Higher Education, will she be the one to tell the Prime Minister this policy goes against the local control that vice-chancellors want across Australia?

    The Minister for Education, Deputy Prime Minister (Tanya Plibersek - Progressive)(Sydney)

    Well....isn't this everything we need to know about the Conservative campaign against education access for all of our young people. The out of touch, out to lunch Tory Party. We want to give Australians every chance to succeed the same way we were given the chances to succeed. Back when honourable Members across the House went to university, the cost was in the hundreds of dollars annually. Now, the cost is $25,000 a year on average. With the Government's proposals, the only thing that the vice-chancellors would not be able to do is hike up prices on students arbitrarily. We are providing the income for the universities and we will be able to lock in a price of education annually. We will also be assuring our young people that it does not depend on how much money you have, where you live, and your class but rather the reach of their dreams and their ability to achieve. We will be able to lift almost 600,000 Australian year 12 students out of a potential life of underachievement and poverty and into middle income Australia where they can live, contribute to our economy, and have a fair go for them and their future families. That is the vision of the Clinton Government, the vision of a government that is doing right by all its people.

    Cathy McGowan (Independent)(Indi)

    My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister explain how the Government's healthcare proposals will improve patient care in their proposed MHCS to my electorate of Indi?

    The Prime Minister

    Well, I would say to the honourable Member's electorate that we are looking to make sure that every Australian has access to equal quality healthcare. Just like with education, the healthcare system of Australia has been a lottery of where our fellow citizens live that determined their quality of care. Those people in Indi previously would not have the same access and quality of care that the people who live in Melbourne or Geelong would. With the MHCS, we would ensure that by 2018, the regional structures of the MHCS would have equal access to specialists, hospitals, GPs and others no matter where they live. Equality of access is one of the most important rights Australians need to have when it comes to government services. That is this Government's guiding principle, and what we think about every day we govern. A Fairer Go for all Australians is our motto, and we will continue our focus on that most important of beliefs.

  • Volume 120

    Questions Without Notice

    22 June 2017

    Mr. Christian PORTER (Conservative)(Pearce)

    The Government has put forward a budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, and it is a shambles of a budget. An increased bloat of the state to only try and woo over voters from the Labor Party. During the 2016 election, the Prime Minister said that she was "an economic conservative with a heart". Does the Prime Minister still believe she is an economic conservative?

    The Prime Minister (Hillary Clinton - Progressive Alliance)(Parramatta)

    First of all, I'd like to welcome the Honourable Member to his place. What an interesting first question to ask. He does not ask about our plans to increase access to quality healthcare between states for all of our friends and citizens in the regions. He does not ask about our Master Plan for Higher Education, which will ensure our young people are not saddled with $100,000 degrees. Instead, he chooses to ask me a personal question. You know, the right has tried to take me down for years, and I am still standing, and now Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Australia. I took my positions to the people and across the electorates in Australia, and they decided to back the Progressive Alliance. We are a party that champions the working people and the diverse in this country, unlike the Conservatives who would rather dial back the clock to the 1950's where women knew their place and diversity was alright as long as it wasn't next door. I hope that the Honourable Member opposite will do something to teach his party that Australia has moved forwards, not backwards, and that we will continue to move forward. 

    Mrs. Janet HOWELL (Progressive Alliance)(Melbourne West)

    Can the Prime Minister update the House on the Government's plan to ensure that every citizen of Australia can benefit and take part of the economic growth that her Government is providing. 

    The Prime Minister

    Thank you, and I thank my Honourable friend for her question. What we are doing is providing a basis in the Australian economy that eliminates the chance elements of birth. No longer will the average Australian be shackled into their class of birth based on the fact their parents were of that class. No longer will the average Australian be constrained to limited outcomes based on the colour of their skin or their gender. We are making sure that it is merits and creativity that are rewarded. We are creating a meritocracy with social safety nets so that all Australians may have a fair go at upward mobility and creating a better life for themselves and their families. The Leader of the Opposition would rather take the country backwards and create even more rigid class mobility and less opportunity. We on this side of the House will continue to move the country forward.

    Mr. John EVAN (One Nation)(Toowoomba North)

    Can the Defence Minister update the House on Australia's military capabilities and what it is doing to keep our country safe from the swarms of Kaasian refugees that want to come to our shores and bring dangerous Sith religion and radicalise our young people?

    Defence Minister Stephen Smith (Progressive Alliance)(Perth)

    I thank the Member for his question, but in so doing, I question his motives. The Government of course is committed to keeping Australia safe. We have just been able to secure a final spending on the 2017-2018 fiscal year of 15.2% of our budget. That includes new procurement and recruitment targets. However, using the Australian Defence Forces for such a callous act of cruelty that is to keep away legitimate refugees, for which we are responsible once they enter our waters, is wrong. This Government will stand by the rights that all refugees have as human beings. Let's just hope that One Nation never makes it into a position where they hold a balance of power. 

  • Volume 120

    26 June 2017

    Questions Without Notice

    Mr. Christian PORTER (Pearce - Leader of the Opposition)(National)

    Q1. What business does the Prime Minister have today.

    Mrs. Hillary CLINTON (Parramatta - Prime Minister)(Progressive Alliance)

    I have had meetings with the Cabinet and others as well as my duties in this House. In addition to my duties, I will have further meetings to advance the Government's agenda for the Federal Republic of Australia.

    Mr. PORTER (Pearce - Leader of the Opposition)

    A report in the Daily Telegraph today and repeated on Sky News suggested that the Prime Minister and the government may have sent classified information via private email to persons who are not authorised to see classified information by the Australian Civil Service and Australian Intelligence Community. This may have included positions of the Australian Defence Forces in defending our country and information about operatives around Europe. Is the Prime Minister really going to believe that no one in Australia will find fault with that?

    Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta - Prime Minister)

    I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question...a question that has been a talking point of the right of Australian politics about me for as long as I have been a public servant. 

    NATIONAL Members interject ---

    The Opposition members can shout all they want, I will get on with the facts about this and about me as a person. I have never sent any email that has been labelled classified. I have never sent emails to anyone in the capacity of trying to advantage them through the Prime Minister's Office. You may try to paint me as a corrupt politician, but let's think about it for a second. Let's not forget that the ABC, after the election, decided to---

    The SPEAKER (Hon. Anna Burke)

    Members on my left will cease interjecting.

    Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta - Prime Minister)

    Decided to investigate the political parties and their election expenses reporting, and guess who was found in breach by more than $20 million. The National Party! The Member for Wentworth (Mr. Malcolm TURNBULL)...oh, there he is, trying to distract and detract from the story. Well, sorry to break it to you, but the actual fraud was committed by the party opposite, the former Prime Minister. Guess who the Australian Electoral Commission announced today they would be investigating? The Member for Wentworth and the National Party! You can fling mud all you want, but you'll find that the loudest and greatest mud-slingers have the most to lose and are the ones wallowing in it.

    Ms. Francesca DI PIERO (Berowra - Progressive Alliance)

    My question is to the Minister for Transport & Infrastructure. Will the Minister update the House on progress in connecting Australia's capital cities with reliable, high speed rail and how that infrastructure development will benefit the Australian economy?

    Mr. John NGYUEN (Rockhampton West - Minister for Transport & Infrastructure)(Progressive Alliance)

    I thank the member for her question and for the concern she has shown for the infrastructure in Australia. She has championed greater investment by the federal government, state government, and has pushed us to partner with the Infrastructure Investment Bank. The future of high speed connections across all of the capital cities of Australia and major cities within states is coming along well. So far, we are prepared to open the high speed mainline between Sydney and Melbourne in 2018, and between Sydney and Brisbane in 2019. Canberra will receive its own in 2020, and the mammoth Perth to Darwin high speed connection that will include Hobart will be made by the end of 2019 as well, having seen that start under the 2008 Labor Government. The difference is we've put in the money and manpower into it. We didn't cut the resources like the Nationals and we didn't inflate cost by giving the trade unions too much leverage over pay on the site like Labor. We will have worked out fair pricing between workers, contractors, and suppliers and we have put forward the resources to properly finish the project. It won't be stalled out by Broome, it will be done by 2019. It's because this Progressive Government has worked with the Western Australian Premier and the Northern Territory Premier to deliver for the Australian people.

    Mr. Kevin RUDD (Griffith - Leader of the Labor Party)

    My question is to the Prime Minister. Given that the Master Plan for Higher Education hasn't made any outreach on apprenticeships and trade jobs to establish greater cooperation on this, a campaign promise that the Prime Minister made, will she be breaking that promise?

    Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta - Prime Minister)

    I thank the Member for Griffith for his question, and I will be happy to work and discuss with him issues regarding apprenticeships, trade jobs, and the Master Plan. The legislation will be brought forward this week and we hope to get it passed through both chambers. It is important to encourage not just the university path, but technical institutes and apprenticeships path as well, and they should be equally valued in the Master Plan. It is equity, merit, and opportunity that we want to achieve through our education plans, and I'm sure myself and the Deputy Prime Minister can be made available this week to discuss and put forward amendments to the legislation.

  • Volume 120

    27 June 2017

    Questions Without Notice

    The SPEAKER (Hon. Anna Burke)

    The time for debate and members' statements has concluded. Now we move on to questions without notice, the Leader of the Opposition.

    Mr. Christian PORTER (Pearce - Leader of the Opposition)(National)

    My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, in response to your lack of a response to my question regarding the email of classified information, I will ask it again. Several news outlets have reported on the fact that the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Office have used private, unsecured email to send classified information to persons who are not authorised to receive and view classified information. Will the Prime Minister come clean and admit to her corrupt use of the office of Prime Minister?

    Mrs. Hillary CLINTON (Parramatta - Prime Minister)(Progressive Alliance)

    Well, I can't believe we are rehashing this for a second time this week, when the Australian people should be hearing policies being scrutinised and proposals from the alternative government of the Federal Republic of Australia. I can't believe that we are still going on these shock jock talking points for the second day in a row. Well, let me answer for the second day in a row that it is absolutely not true that any of these events happened. If they were to have happened, there would have been disciplinary action taken by me, because I am not personally the one who would have sent the information. There is far too much going on of importance to the nation for me to be sending emails to people on personal accounts. 

    Mr. Christian PORTER (Pearce - Leader of the Opposition)

    I seek leave to move a motion against the Prime Minister to debate the conduct of the Prime Minister and the legitimacy of her government.

    The SPEAKER (Hon. Anna Burke) 

    Is leave granted?

    Mr. Anthony ALBANESE (Grayndler - Leader of the House)(Progressive Alliance)

    Leave is not granted.

    The SPEAKER (Hon. Anna Burke)

    Leave is not granted. The Leader of the Opposition.

    Mr. PORTER (Pearce - Leader of the Opposition)

    I move that so much of standing and sessional orders be suspended, as so to allow the Leader of the Opposition to move the following motion forthwith: that the House censures the Prime Minister for her role in the ATO investigation of her husband...for the recent light of emails containing classified information being sent to individuals who do not have authorisation to view such classified information...for the insistence of the PMO to hush any of the Civil Service about this in order to bury this gross incompetence and corruption...for any other cover ups involving the conduct of this Prime Minister which is at its minimum unethical and at its maximum, criminal. 

    It is extraordinary that because this Prime Minister assumes that she is a third party leader and that she is also Prime Minister, she can do whatever she wants. If this was a Labor or National Prime Minister, you would be guaranteed to hear the Prime Minister crow for an investigation by the federal police into the conduct of that Prime Minister. The fact that she is so grossly calm about the entire matter is of great shock to me and the people of this country and the Parliament of Australia. It is an absolute travesty that the Prime Minister continues to not come clean about the conduct of her office, and that she will cover it up at all costs. According to Sky News, we have seen the Prime Minister's email account pop up in correspondence to her husband, to backbenchers, and to data management companies who are looking to offer their services to the Prime Minister for her time. We know that she has sought an IT solution because she has been seen talking to Telstra and others regarding the PMO and its data. 

    But the Prime Minister didn't stop there. She pulled aside the CEO of Telstra to ask him about establishing secret servers on which she could store data and share it with her husband and others in the Australian community, as confirmed by the CEO of Telstra on Sky today. This just confirms the corruption on the emails alone. The ATO investigated her husband regarding slush funds to hide funding to her campaign that were later converted into personal savings. No other Prime Minister in the history of Australia has ever tried to benefit themselves through the seizure of funds of almost $1.5 million. The large house in Parramatta wasn't enough for this Prime Minister. The generous pay of $507,000 annually wasn't enough. She had to profit off of the election as well. And where did the money go? Portfolios of stock shares in companies that she then sought to benefit through her legislation. 

    We see her avoiding the truth with the Australian people when she said there would be no carbon tax, then announced the introduction of a emissions trading scheme. A carbon tax! She said she wouldn't nationalise the health care system, only to announce all hospitals and GP access to be put on the same, national system. Nationalisation! She's not only an offshoot of failed Labor policies as the Progressive Alliance leader, but she is also averse to telling the truth just like the Member for Griffith and Julia Gillard. We cannot allow the Prime Minister to continue to pour her corruption over the Government, and if these reports are true, we will have to seek a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

    The SPEAKER (Hon. Anna Burke)

    The Prime Minister.

    Mrs. Hillary CLINTON (Parramatta - Prime Minister)

    I rise to oppose the motion of the Leader of the Opposition.

    Doesn't this tell you everything we need to know about this Leader of the Opposition and the National Party? We have seen no ideas from them, no credible Opposition from them. They are a party that is lost. They have lost an election, lost the debate on the economy, lost the debate on healthcare, lost the debate on education, lost the debate on how best to move Australia forward. They have no new ideas and no capacity in which to suggest new ideas, so now they resort to personal attacks on me. Well, I tell them, keep it up! Keep it up. I welcome the debate, because I know that I have facts and results on my side and real policies that will benefit all of Australia. 

    Let's remind ourselves what this Opposition opposed in the last year of this Parliament. They opposed the Public Infrastructure Investment Bank, which has delivered almost $700 billion in new projects across Australia in places like Perth, Kalgoorlie, Broome, Cairns, Darwin and Adelaide, not Sydney and Melbourne. They opposed the public-private start-up bank which has leveraged almost $300 billion in loans to help small businesses expand and power our economy, which has delivered real jobs to ordinary Australians. They opposed the Native Title Court, which has settled the Kligenberg Metals-Kimberley Aboriginal dispute that had been going on for almost 30 years in terms that even Andrew Kligenberg, the bastion of tolerance himself, described as fair. The National Party opposed the record levels of funding into Medicare that has allowed almost 40% of all Australians to receive prescriptions free of charge that they so desperately needed. The National Party opposed the extra $5 billion in funding to rural and Aboriginal Australia to develop key infrastructure and resources that will help the communities thrive and entice further private sector investment. 

    But that is what economic incompetence looks like. Let's remind ourselves of the budget deficit the Government inherited from those opposite. The $550 billion deficit from the party that claims its about fiscal responsibility. They are not about fiscal responsibility, they are about greed and helping the biggest corporations and lining the pockets of billionaire donors. Mr. Harbour-Side Mansion, the Member for Wentworth, was the embodiment of the upper class of Australian society that sought political power to crush the most vulnerable. That is the record of the National Party government of 2012-2016, and that is not what the Australian people wanted, so they voted him out. They have passionately backed our ideas, as seen in the Northern Territory and ACT elections, and in the Western Australian elections where we entered a coalition with the Labor Leader Mark McGowan. Across Australia, the ideas of the Progressive Alliance are winning out over the divisive and pointless rhetoric of the right-wing papers and National Party. 

    Of course, it is also laughable to see that the party opposite would dare to call me corrupt, when they are the ones currently under active investigation from the Australian Electoral Commission and the Australian Tax Office for $20 million in election expenses fraud. I suggest that the Leader of the Opposition stop worrying about me and the Government's conduct, which the Parliamentary Ethics committee have found no fault with and have, actually, commented on how open and honest we are in its latest report on member ethics, and worry about cleaning up his own party's house when it comes to conduct and corruption.

    The SPEAKER (Hon. Anna Burke)

    The time for debate has expired. The question is the motion be agreed to. All of those of that opinion say AYE, to the contrary NO. I think the aye's have it. Division required. Ring the bells for four minutes.

    Division required

    Motion: The House censures the Prime Minister in regards to her conduct.

    AYE: 120

    NO: 210

    The question is not carried by an absolute majority of members, as required under Standing Order 47.

  • Volume 121

    Questions Without Notice

    5 September 2017

    Mrs. Julie BISHOP (Curtin - Conservative)

    My question is to the Prime Minister. With wage growth decreasing for all Australian families, energy prices scheduled to go up with the government's heavy handed attempts to promote green energy, and capital increasingly difficult to come across with the Government's wade into lending with the APPIB. Will she admit that her economic plan is socialism at greater lengths than even Labor Governments in the past, and will she listen to economists around Australia?

    Mrs. Hillary CLINTON (Prime Minister - Parramatta)

    I thank the honourable member for her question, and in so doing I ask the honourable member...has she actually bought what the News Corp papers have said regarding this government. Since coming into office, we have seen wages grow to almost $40,000 on average for Australians, the strongest reserve currency in Europe, a place where international investment has boomed in Sydney, in Melbourne, in Brisbane. We have become a country that says to its citizens if you work hard and have good merit, you have the ability to achieve. That is the Australia that I want to leave for our children and grandchildren, and we are building it. If having a strong economy and strong, limited safety net is socialist, then I bet you'll have to tell Karl Marx something different.

    Mr. Christian PORTER (Pearce - Leader of the Conservative Party, Official Opposition Leader)

    Prime Minister, are you aware that former campaign manager Robby Mook has been sought after by the Australian Federal Police for questioning in regards to allegations that a slush fund within the Clinton Foundation was set up to give pay to play access to the Leader of the Progressive Alliance....which is you?

    Mrs. Hillary CLINTON

    I thank the honourable member for his question. Yes, I am aware. That allegation was brought forward by the former member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, Mr. Charles Adams...a Conservative Party donor who was also investigated by the AFP for illegal campaign donations. Yes, they would not tell you the whole truth about that. Now, the Government will be introducing legislation on campaign finance that will make the process more transparent, comprehensive, and hopefully drive out big money from politics. (Conservative members laugh) They laugh, Madam Speaker, but we are determined to fix confidence in our politics in Australia. 

    Mrs. Rebekha SHARKIE (Mayo - Nick Xenophon Team)

    My question is to the Minister for Energy, the Environment and Resources. Illegal water procurement from the Murray-Darling River Basin has reached a new state. Reports from the Queensland Resources Minister show that there is evidence of illegal water procurement from the basin. Now that the issue has hit key rivers in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, will he take action?

    Mr. Adam BANDT (Melbourne - Minister for Energy, the Environment and Resources)

    I thank the honourable member for her question. It is an important question, because water is such a precious resource for this country, not withstanding the substantial desert and bush we've got but because it is the resource that will keep this country sustainable. The Government has reached out to the Queensland government and at the next meeting of Energy, Environment, and Resource ministers from the states and territories, this will be a big conversation point. The Government is committed to keeping our natural resources sustainable and that includes water. We have entered further consultation with farmers and pastoralists about water needs, and we will come to an agreement on federal law that protects the needs of farmers and meets our targets for conservation of this precious resource. 

    Mr. Christopher PYNE (Sturt - Shadow Foreign Minister)

    My question is to the Foreign Minister. Minister, why hasn't Australia held a summit with other key nations like Derecta, Miraco and other viable trading partners and why is the Government effectively keeping Australia isolated within the European Union?

    Mr. Chris BOWEN (Prospect - Minister for Foreign Affairs)

    That's laughable coming from someone who advocated the previous Turnbull Government to only keep to nations that share traditional values with Australia. Read: nations that only have certain political leaning governments and have a long history of conservative thought. It's this Government that has reinvigorated the relationship between Australia and the Duxburian Union. This is the Government that has led by example, becoming a key champion for human rights, equality, and economic prosperity. This is the Government that has decided not to turn a blind eye to atrocities in Dromund Kaas, taking in thousands of Kaasian refugees and integrating them into society. So when the honourable member talks about isolation, it's as if he's got a huge mirror in front of him when asks that question. After all, that isolation cost him his former job to the current Leader of the Conservative Party. Oh well, two down and however many left to go until 2020 for the Government. (Government members laugh)

  • Volume 123

    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. 

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