House of Representatives Official Hansard
13 June 2016
Questions Without Notice (known as Question Time) is an hour long daily allotted time for oral questions that are unplanned from the Leader of the Opposition, the Government backbenchers, and the rest of the MPs in the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister or the relevant Minister questioned may answer the questions. Generally, the Shadow Minister asks the questions to their Government counterpart, and the Government backbenchers ask questions to the Prime Minister or the relevant Minister.
Unlike its UK counterpart, there is no question to the Prime Minister on his or her schedule relating to the Parliament. This question time is also not just Questions to the Prime Minister, but to the Government as a whole. It also has a direct counterpart in the Senate, led by the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. It also, while usually having a set period of time, can be terminated at any time by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House or Leader of the Government in the Senate with the statement “I move that further questions be posted to the Notice paper”, indicating that no questions will be answered by the Government from that point, even if they remain in the chamber.
The current Prime Minister is the Hon. Hillary Clinton, MP (Parramatta – APP). The current Leader of the Opposition is the Hon. Christopher Pyne, MP (Sturt – Conservative). The Leader of the Government in the Senate is Senator Chris Evans (Western Australia – APP) and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate is Senator George Brandis (Queensland – Conservative). The Speaker of the House is Anna Burke, MP (Chisolm – Labour)
This is typically the rowdiest moment of the Australian Parliament, and there can be great moments of Australian political theatre.
The SPEAKER: The time for members’ statements has concluded. Questions without notice…the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. PYNE (Sturt – Leader of the Opposition): My question is to the Prime Minister. Why is the Prime Minister looking to increase the burden of debt and deficit onto the families of Australia after the previous Government left the books in surplus?
Government members interjecting –
The SPEAKER: Order! Order!
The House falls silent.
The SPEAKER: Before I call the Prime Minister…I have made it clear that the level of noise in the House is far too loud. Questions asked by anyone in the House will be heard and members who are obstructing questions and answers will be warned. Those members who were warned in the previous week, you know who you are…the Member for McMahon…your warnings have not been wiped clean. The Prime Minister…
Mr. SWAN: Here we go again!
Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta – Prime Minister): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. Let’s…let’s make something clear, Madam Speaker. The Australian people just had an election in which they voted out the Conservative Party from Government and sought fit to install this Coalition Government, this team of progressive voices to lead Australia into the future.
I cannot…I cannot speak to the details of the budget, but the claim that we have put no savings and did not balance the books is shocking and patently absurd. We were elected on the promises made in our manifesto and that is to continue to balance the books and deliver surpluses, shifting the burden of taxation from middle class families and working Australians. We have an economic plan that is credible, that will kick start economic growth and we will also make sure that our society has an adequate safety net.
The Conservatives, the Leader of the Opposition, and the former Prime Minister did not take into consideration what their balance the books at all cost approach would mean to average Australians and to the state and territory governments. State premiers have been calling for help with their books and with top down government reorganisations of healthcare, education, and transportation that have not delivered higher quality services, but instead interfered with everything in the state governments. The costs have been amounting and in fact it has not been put into the figures until we asked the Parliamentary Budget Office, the independent watchdog to factor them in.
Opposition and Government members interjecting –
The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?
Mr. CHESTER (Gippsland – Manager of Opposition Business): Yes, Madam Speaker, and it’s on relevance. The Prime Minister is not answering the question but is instead commenting on the former Government…
The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will return to his seat. Even though the Prime Minister is taking rather long to get to the point, the answer is relevant. I would advise the Prime Minister to get a move on. The…the Prime Minister.
Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta – Prime Minister): Thank you, Madam Speaker. The short version is that the Conservatives fudged the figures, and now that we have them, we have impartial evidence that the supposed surplus was actually a small deficit. The Government will work with the corrected figures to plan for a prosperous, jobs and growth economy for Australia.
Opposition members interjecting –
Mr. ABBOTT: Lies and deceit, Madam Speaker.
Government members interjecting –
The SPEAKER: The volume is too high right now. The Manager of Opposition Business…
Mr. CHESTER (Gippsland – Manager of Opposition Business): Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister has told a blatant untruth that is able to be fact checked in the Hansard from the fourth of February. Misrepresentation cannot be put down in the Hansard as fact, and we ask that the remark about the Conservative Party be struck from the Hansard completely and the Prime Minister withdraw the remark.
The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat. The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister was stating that the PBO did not have accurate information and that the new information would be provided. Therefore, the remark may remain on the Hansard and the Prime Minister does not have to withdraw the remark. I…the member for Jagajaga! The member for Jagajaga has been warned. I call the member for Kingsford Smith.
Mr. THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith): My question is to the Minister for Education. What is the Government doing to bring increased educational opportunities and investment to New South Wales and across Australia?
Mr. O’CONNOR (Burke – Minister for Education): I thank the honourable member for his question. It is a very important question, and one that explores the differences between the previous Government and this Coalition Government. The Progressives and Greens and First Nation are working to bring educational opportunity to all Australians. We are in a position to increase access to federal funds for the states and territories to supplement their education budgets. The Government is also looking to increase educational opportunities in Aboriginal and regional Australia directly by building 200 more schools in the course of this Parliament.
The SPEAKER: The member for New England
Mr. JOYCE (New England – Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Rural Affairs, and the Environment): My question is to the Minister for Resource and Sustainability, the acting minister for the Minister for the Environment. The Government is planning on introducing a carbon trading scheme, which is the brainchild of the Green Party. It also is looking to give us even more job killing regulations on farming and energy, damaging the economy. Why should the Australian people trust this Government to act in its best interest?
Mr. BANDT (Melbourne Ports – Minister for Resource and Sustainability): As always, a great question from Mr. Joyce.
Opposition members interject –
Mr. PYNE: Unparliamentary! New to the party and disrespectful!
The SPEAKER: Members on my left…members on my…the Member for Jagajaga is warned and it is his final warn…the member for Curtin!
Several moments go by. Interjections cease.
The SPEAKER: The Minister will address members by their appropriate titles, please.
Mr. BANDT: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I may be new to the House but I can identify the snakes when I see them. Madam…
Government members laugh –
Mr. BANDT: Madam Speaker, the Government understands that climate change is the key challenge of our time, and one that affects every aspect of Australian life. It will not matter if we have a strong economy if the tides increase by 6 feet, threatening Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. It will not matter if the economy is churning along if we have cataclysmic natural disaster like the fires in Victoria in 2015 and the floods in Tasmania that are ongoing.
The Government will pursue a transition from a fossil fuel economy that is damaging our planet and is wholly unsustainable to a future where green, clean energy and new, good paying, high tech jobs are found in Australia. We could become a world leader in alternative energy and pave the way for our young people to get more involved in science and technology that will help build that new economy.
But it’s typical of the Conservative Party. The members opposite have no clue that the world has changed around them and they are stuck in the past like relics of the good days gone by, but Australians recognise that the future is now. They understand that we must continue to innovate or we will not be able to do anything about the challenges that lie ahead.
Opposition members interject –
The SPEAKER: Before we continue, I have to say that the noise and interjections and attempts to shout down members on both sides of the House are out of hand. We will stay in the House for as long as it takes to finish Question Time.
I call the member for Oxley.
Ms. PLIBERSEK: Here’s the xenophobic racist again!
Mr. SWAN: Let’s ban more people! Answers to our problems!
Government members laugh –
The SPEAKER: The Special Minister of State and the Treasurer will cease interjecting. The member for Oxley.
Ms. HANSON (Oxley – Leader of the One Nation Party): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister finally wake up and get smart on our nation’s immigration policy before it is too late?
Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta – Prime Minister): I thank the honourable member for her question. The Government believes in strong borders for Australia but also in a compassionate society. We have seen 300 people drowning trying to get to Australia from Dromund Kaas, which is an absolutely untenable situation for any Government to be in. That is why we are introducing an increased capacity to process asylum claims subject to an agreement with our partners in Angleter.
We believe in thoroughly vetting asylum seeker claims outside of Australia before we bring them to Australia. We believe that is a fair policy and it brings us in line with our own standards and keeps Australia safe from the kinds of attacks we have seen in Davishire. Here is what we on this side of the House are not going to engage in.
We are not going to engage in nationalist, race baiting arguments on immigration and Aboriginal policies. We are not going to use dog whistle racism to win votes, and we’re not going to state that it is unpatriotic to allow people who qualify to enter Australia to do so. The difference between the Government’s policy and the member for Oxley’s policy couldn’t be any clearer on that front. That kind of politicking has no place in this House.
Government members cheer and applaud –
The SPEAKER: Members on my right. I must remind the members on my right, many of whom are seasoned members and have served in five or six Parliaments before this, that clapping is only appropriate at the end of a speech, the Budget’s reading and the Opposition’s response, and in the President’s Speech. There will be no clapping in any other situation. Those who continue to clap and disturb the House will be asked to leave under Standing Order 94-A.
I call the member for Isaacs.
Mr. DREYFUS (Isaacs): Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment. Will the Minister update the House on Australia’s trade policy and how that will contribute to the economic growth agenda by the Government?
Mr. BOWEN (McMahon – Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment): I thank the honourable member for his question. The Government will be continuing to reach out to other European nations after successfully hosting summits last year with Angleter and Davishire and Icholasen. The trade deals struck with these nations have contributed almost $40 billion to the Australian economy over the last year which has translated into new opportunity and new jobs for Australians right across the country.
This Government will pursue free trade policies within reason, ensuring that we will conduct trade that is mutually beneficial but will not kill jobs at home.
Ms. BISHOP: Couldn’t come up with your own ideas, could you?
Mr. BOWEN: Well, our idea is to stay away from Conservative Party policies that delivered job losses in our manufacturing sector, job losses in our high tech sector, job losses in our retail sector. There were no safeguards in place to ensure that Australian jobs would be protected. Rather, they just went on into those agreements gung-ho without ever once considering the fact that there could be negative consequences. We in the Coalition will not fall for the same fallacies.
Mr. JOYCE: Champagne socialists!
Opposition members laugh, Government members interject –
Mr. BOWEN: It’s not champagne socialism, it’s smart Government looking out for the working class and the middle class of Australia instead of lining the pockets of rich donors and big business like the Conservatives have always done. Independent economists have already stated that this Government’s policies will be set to grow the economy up to 2% more in the next fiscal year. It’s because we’re willing to take the decisions that will work for all Australians, not for a select few in Sydney’s elitist club.
The SPEAKER: Before I call the Leader of the Opposition, I would like to inform the House that we have with us a delegation from the McQuarrie High School’s 7th year class. On behalf of the whole house, I would like to extend a warm welcome to them and hope that their experience is educational and that their presence in the gallery will inspire good behaviour from all honourable members this afternoon.
Honourable members: Hear, hear!
The SPEAKER: I call the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. PYNE (Sturt – Leader of the Opposition): Thank you. My question is to the Prime Minister. Sky News earlier today referred to the Government’s proposed changes to the tax system, including tax rises on people making over $100,000 a year “a job-killing measure from a more left-wing Government than we have ever seen in Australia”. Prime Minister, do you enjoy killing the aspirations of Australians and ruining the record of job creation Australia has enjoyed over the past 4 years?
Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta – Prime Minister): I thank the honourable member for his question. I was not made aware that Sky News was an expert in budget measures of this Government. I also was not aware that Sky News was privy to discussions held in the Treasury between the Finance Minister, Treasurer, and Treasury Secretary. Lo and behold, we have seen an advent that now 24-hour cable news media can help shape Government policies!
The Leader of the Opposition, in his question, has revealed his own right-wing bias and I will not comment on Sky News as an organisation. I can tell the Leader of the Opposition that we will present our budget on June the 15th, at which time it will be available for scrutiny for the Parliamentary Budget Office, the independent watchdog on government spending. He will be invited of course to share in this magnificent document. I’m sure it will be one that moves Australia forward instead of leaving Australia in the past like the Leader of the Opposition wants to do.
Ms. Bishop interjects –
The SPEAKER: Members on my left. I call the member for Griffith.
Mr. RUDD (Griffith – Leader of the Labour Party): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer comment on how the Government has co-opted many revenue and spending ideas that the Labour Party presented before the last election when we were in Opposition?
Government members laugh and interject –
The SPEAKER: Before I call the Treasurer…the member for Mackellar! The member for Mackellar will cease interjecting…the member for Mackellar has been warned.
Mrs. Bishop interjects towards the Speaker –
The SPEAKER: The member for Mackellar will not argue with the chair. The member…the member will leave the House under Standing Order 94-A. The Manager of Opposition Business…
Opposition members interject –
Mr. CHESTER (Gippsland – Manager of Opposition Business): Madam Speaker, the member for Mackellar was not acting out of order. She was agreeing with the Leader of the Labour Party quietly. You have made a mistake and I ask that the chair reinstates the member.
The SPEAKER: No, the Manager…the…members on my left. Order!
Opposition angrily interjects –
The SPEAKER: Order! Those members on my left who have already been warned are very close to being asked to leave the House under 94-A. The member continued to argue with the chair after being repeatedly asked to cease, therefore it is within the chair’s jurisdiction to use Standing Order 94-A.
Mr. CHESTER (Gippsland – Manager of Opposition Business): Madam Speaker, that goes against the use of Standing Order 94-A as a device of maintaining order in the House and I motion to stop Question Time and instead allow for thirty minutes to debate a motion of censure against the Speaker due to her inability to act without bias.
The SPEAKER: Is the motion seconded.
Ms. Bishop interjects –
The SPEAKER: The motion will be put to a vote. All those in favour.
Opposition members shout
The SPEAKER: Members opposed.
Government and Crossbench members shout
The SPEAKER: The no’s have it. The Prime Minister had the call. Prime Minister…
Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta – Prime Minister): Thank you, Madam Speaker, and it’s always some kind of trick to try and avoid responsibility from the Conservatives.
Speaking on Labour similarities, these are policies that the Labour Party took from the Progressive Party back in 1983 to get Bob Hawke elected and what Paul Keating used and what the Leader of the Labour Party himself used to get elected in 2008.
Really, if we’re going to talk about co-opting ideas, we should talk about how Labour made themselves electable by going along with progressive values before they decided to go back to old Labour, old tax and spend with nothing to show for it Labour.
Mr. PYNE: She has got some nerve to talk about tax and spend.
Opposition members laugh –
Mrs. CLINTON (Parramatta – Prime Minister): That’s where Labour stands on that issue, but of course we are both still better than the Conservatives or One Nation. I would hope to see more consensus from Labour since they were so quick to pivot towards our side of politics but apparently that changes when they realise they have no shot at being in power.
The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House.
Mr. ALBANESE (Grayndler – Leader of the House): Madam Speaker, I ask that further questions be posted to the Notice paper.
The House begins to empty.
The SPEAKER: Members will exit the House quietly. There are a few changes today. The Foreign Affairs House Select Committee will be meeting in the Chiffley Room and a period for Statements from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment has been added to the schedule as the last order of business.
The handing down of the Federal Budget is accompanied by tradition by a speech from the Treasurer. Unlike in the United Kingdom, where there is pomp and circumstance of the Chancellor posing with the red box, the Australian federal government's Treasurer tends to get on with it and present his budget. Unlike in the United Kingdom, the Leader of the Opposition doesn't give their Budget in Reply until the Friday of Budget Week. This allows for further scrutiny of the Budget.
Appropriation Bill No. 1 2016-2017
Message from the Administrator transmitting particulars of proposed expenditure and recommending appropriation announced.
Bill and explanatory memorandum presented by Mr. Swan..
Bill read a first time.
Mr. SWAN (Lilley - Treasurer)
Madam Speaker, I move that the bill be read for the second time.
Madam Speaker, this budget is the first budget that will take Australia in a progressive direction. This is a budget that provides extraordinary measures for an extraordinary country.
Every Australian knows that building a prosperous future, one of inclusion and one for every Australian doesn't just happen on its own. The groundwork for this must begin now, and this Budget compliments the Government's programme to grant every Australian an equality of opportunity. We have a clear economic plan that involves investment in the future and bringing dynamic economic activity and sustainable economics to Australia.
We will begin this transition to sustainable economics by delivering on our campaign promise to institute the Australian Public Infrastructure Investment Bank. This new public bank will approve and lend to local and state governments on behalf of the federal government pending approval of the project. This will not, however, be the Government's free credit card and state and local governments must provide a significant amount of funding on their own. The Commonwealth will not allow projects to be wholly funded by the Public Infrastructure Investment Bank, but rather be part of a solution that is co-opted by both the public and private sector for major projects. This will provide the for nearly $60 billion in project funding around Australia, including the often delayed WestLink in Western Sydney and rail projects in Victoria. This is the Government investing in an Australian future, getting infrastructure done so that our economy can continue to grow and have the capacity to handle exports, imports, and extra workers in the transportation network.
Second, we will reform the previous Government's 10 year enterprise plan by increasing the amount of loans that can be accessed from the Commonwealth from $32 billion to $34 billion and widen the scope of borrowing to businesses in the green technologies and renewable energy sector. In order to have a sustainable future for our country and this planet, we must invest in companies with sustainable business plans. Australia has a chance to be the bastion of green technology and sustainable economics, and this coalition Government is committed to building these for the future.
In order to be pioneers of the new technologies and economy of the future, we will have to supply a landmark amount of funding for education in the nation, and Madam Speaker, we have delivered that. 28% of our budget, nearly $380 billion, will be going towards education initiatives across the country. From every primary school to universities and technical institutes to the rural secondary school in South Australia, we will be the ones to deliver prosperity. In that $380 billion, the Commonwealth will partner with the Aboriginal Council of Australia to provide new educational opportunities to aboriginal communities across the country. We have left those children in the dark for far too long, and this will be a Government that will do something about this horrible injustice. We will be a Government that will eradicate the barriers that stand in the way of our non-white communities.
Healthcare spending by this government will increase by 2% to $267 billion this fiscal year, with largest increase in funding going towards Medicare and Medicare services at $208 billion. This will largely be seen in regional Australia and rural Australia, catching up services to those in metropolitan Australia, and a further advancing of all services across all of Medicare. And, of course, Madam Speaker, full funding for our prescription scheme so that all prescriptions across Australia are free of charge when persons present their Medicare card at their local pharmacy. The health of our population and the well-being of all Australians, no matter where they come, is crucial if we're going to continue to build a fair society that gives all of its citizens the security they need to know that the Commonwealth and state governments have their back if they fall ill.
We will also be unveiling AusIncome, a basic income payment to replace the bureaucratic welfare system. This egalitarian form of welfare will give each Australian citizen $2,000 each, with children's payments going to the head of household. That money will be theirs to spend in the economy, whether it is investing in their future fund, or buying goods and services from their local shops. Of course, there will be restrictions to this form of welfare, with the Government giving each person or household a charge card with the amount on it. This charge card cannot be exchanged for cash, and we have diverted funds to the federal police and the Departments of Social Services and Human Services to monitor activity on this front.
The Clinton Government understands the challenges of the future while trying to give everyone an opportunity at a fair go. It is the corner stone of Australian life and the reason why our country has been so successful.
We have put into the budget, Madam Speaker, projections of the Government's plans to change negative gearing, and we are projecting that the Government will run a modest deficit for the fiscal years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. That is what we have told the Australian people, and the deficit will be $20.2 billion in the first year and $11.8 billion in the second, returning to surplus by 2018-2019 at $400 million and 2019-2020 at $3.6 billion. These modest deficits are a part of a long term strategy where we put investment in our people, in education, in Medicare, in the well-being of our citizens. These investments will grow the economy in the future and pave the way for Australia to become a leading power in sustainable, green economics. Our Progressive future, bringing along everyone for the ride to hi-tech jobs. Good paying, sustainable jobs of the future. That is the plan the Clinton Government has for Australia.
Madam Speaker, I commend the Clinton Government's plan for the future and this bill to the House.
(Applause from the gallery and Government members)
The SPEAKER: The period for debate on this bill is adjourned.
Text of Appropriations Bill No. 1 titled Australian Federal Budget for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017
Spending Commitment as Percentage of GDP: 46%
Committed Government Spending for 2016-2017 Fiscal Year: $1,501,877,365,148
Total Expenditure: $267,334,170,996.34 (17.8%)
- Medicare Services: $208,520,653,377.15 (78%)
- Private Insurance Payments: $34,753,442,229.52 (13%)
- General medical consultation and service: $21,386,733,679.71 (8%)
- Primary care practice incentives: $2,673,341,709.96 (~ 1%)
- Previous revenue collected: -$1,395,366,064.81
Australian Defence Force
Total Expenditure: $34,543,179,398.40 (2.3%)
Federal Police, Security, and Intelligence
Total Expenditure: $75,116,605,556 (6%)
- Australian federal police: $30,046,642,222.40 (40%)
- Intelligence: $45,069,963,333.60 (60%)
Total Expenditure: $377,085,359,891.12 (28.1%)
Total Expenditure: $346,933,671,349.19 (23.1%)
- AusIncome payments: $294,893,620,646.81 (85%)
- Superannuation contributions: $52,040,050,702.38 (15%)
Government and Civil Service, and Communications
Total Expenditure: $60,275,094,605.92 (4%)
- Total federal government cost: $42,193,266,224.14 (70%)
- Contribution to the National Broadband Network, Co.*: $15,069,023,651.48 (25%)
- Contribution to the Australian Broadcasting Co.*: $3,230,014,038.91 (5%)
Environment and Energy Policy
Total Expenditure: $113,733,292,925.51 (7.1%)
- Green Energy Rebate: $68,239,975,755.30 (60%)
- Sustainable Startup Loan Scheme: $28,433,323,231.38 (25%)
- Department of the Environment: $17,059,993,938.83 (14%)
Total Expenditure: $146,167,104,419.36 (9.7%)
- Public Infrastructure Investment Bank: $58,466,841,767.75 (40%)
- Committed Projects to State and Territory Governments: $87,700,262,651.61 (60%)
*Note: the National Broadband Network and Australian Broadcasting Corporation each are funded through a licensing system in which persons must purchase a license to have a television and access to broadband. As such, funding for both from the federal government and state governments is a small portion of their overall funding scheme.
12 July 2016
This is the last sitting day of the Parliament before the Winter Recess, which will end on 7 August, following the double dissolution election called by then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The SPEAKER (Anna BURKE - Chisholm): Statement from the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has the call.
Prime Minister Hillary CLINTON (Progressive - Parramatta): Thank you, Madam Speaker, and it gives me great delight to address the House on this final sitting day of the 2016 Budget session. Australians have elected this Government that I lead to deliver on its key promises and manifesto points in this four years of the new Parliament, and we will continue to work hard on our agenda. During this recess time, the business of Government goes on, and we will be in Canberra periodically during the Winter Recess. I would like to thank the Speaker, the Leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of the Labour Party, the Member for Oxley, and the Manager for Opposition Business. They have all done a fine job in ensuring that Australian democracy continues in a way that is productive and in a way that allows a fair opportunity for all voices to be heard. This is a Parliament that, despite our short session after the election, has done an immense job getting through key legislation and debate on the President's Speech and the Budget.
We have outlined that the first order of business on our return to the Spring Sitting of Parliament, and that of course will be the Native Title Court legislation and the tax incentives for start-up industries in the green technologies sector. This Government will also make ourselves available to the Parliamentary Budget Office and other independent watchdogs as we prepare our agenda in the Spring Session.
To the people of Australia who delivered this Government, we will not let you down and we will take the time during the recess to go into the communities across this great country and meet with Australians on our legislative programme and how we can best serve the public, as I know the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, and One Nation will do, as will the Senate.
At this time, I ask the Speaker to end this sitting of Parliament.
The SPEAKER: There is no more business on the schedule. The House is adjourned until the end of the Winter Recess.
08 August 2016
In a new tradition founded in the Australian republic system, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition open the first sitting day of Parliament with short speeches on the state of Australia. This is the first Statements Regarding the Commonwealth
The SPEAKER (Anna Burke - Chisholm, Labour): Now it's time for Statements Regarding the Commonwealth. I call on the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister HILLARY CLINTON (Parramatta - Progressive): Thank you, Madam Speaker.
The state of the Australian Commonwealth is one of renewed optimism. We are living in a time of great change for the future. We have moved from a constitutional monarchy with literal ties to the United Kingdom to a fully realised parliamentary republic. We are in full control of our democracy and our nation's structures. For that, we have to thank all parties across Australia for joining together and voting for our new, realised future. This includes the Member for Wentworth, the former Prime Minister, who will no doubt go down in history for his efforts regarding the reinvention of the Australian democracy.
Our economy is diversifying. We are working to bring prosperity to all and secure a future beyond the mining boom and beyond what we can rip from the ground. Innovation, sustainable energy, high tech jobs...that is what Australia needs to remain competitive in the future. Our country needs to continue to work on fairness and security for all persons. It is not right that if you are an Aboriginal Australian, you are more likely to end up in jail as a youth, grow up in a poorer household, become less educated, and are treated as lesser than white Australians. It is not what we as a society can tolerate and what we as a country can live with any longer. Reforms to criminal justice so that all children in our country, black or white, can grow up with an equality of opportunity is something we should all stand for, not just this Government.
(The House gives the Prime Minister a standing ovation, as does the viewing gallery.)
We have taken a big leap forward as a country with the rise of the First Nation Party into coalition government, directly influencing our way of life for the betterment of all Australians. These people are the native populace that lived here well before settlement by the English, and it is in that spirit that we must not only get constitutional recognition of indigenous people as the first owners of Australia, but a treaty in which these persons can coexist peacefully in our society.
We cannot legislate and govern just for Aboriginal Australia, but also for those out in the regions, trying to make a life for themselves. Australia deserves a government that gives all of its citizens a fair go. We must answer the call to our citizens, and the House should continue to work until we achieve a society that allows people to reach for their dreams without the burden of crippling debt and rising healthcare costs. We must work together to make One Australia possible, an Australia for the future. Onward, forward, and upward.
(Standing ovation from government benches and the gallery.)
The SPEAKER: Order, order. Thank you....members on my right...I call on the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. PYNE (Sturt - Conservative): Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I can only say that the Prime Minister has practised her words but her Government has not practised what they preach. She speaks about One Australia, and her rhetoric, Madam Speaker, is beautiful. Gorgeous rhetoric from the Prime Minister.
But what about the pastoralists in South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria? What about families across Australia who are seeing this country change and become a country with an uncertain future? This Government has made the biggest spending increase in a single year of programmes, increasing spending by 3% of GDP in just this year alone. Unsustainable spending, yet she promises tax breaks for the middle class. So what is her Government going to do to pay for these tax cuts? Raise the corporate tax rate to job killing levels? Borrow more, and take us further out of surplus? Reckless, irresponsible spending, Madam Speaker, is what the Commonwealth has come to with Hillary Clinton at the helm.
And it's not just spending, it's her government itself. Yet again, we call on the Prime Minister to disband this coalition cobbled together in backrooms, only announced on Radio National the day prior to the election. Frightened that she'd not have the numbers to get into government, the Prime Minister deliberately withheld all talk of a coalition from the Australian people, the electorate that was supported either a Conservative of Labour government. Now, I cannot speak for the Leader of the Labour Party, but I know I was furious when I heard the Prime Minister did this. She has acted in contempt of the Australian people, and her government will wreck the future that we rightfully back into prosperity after the Rudd-Gillard years of Labour. We won two elections, Madam Speaker, and won 6 years of uninterrupted government so we could get Australia back on track. Then, taking advantage of the new electoral system, the Prime Minister put together a shady backroom deal in which she would be propped up by the Greens and First Nation. The Progressives, Greens, and First Nation are all puppets being strung up by a corrupt politician, looking to line the pockets of her and her husband's foundation.
But nevertheless, I have hope for the Commonwealth. I have hope that the Australian people will see through this and in 2020, vote out the Clinton Government and get back to sensible, orderly Conservative governance. Then, Madam Speaker, could we see the optimism that the Prime Minister speaks of fully realised. Until then, the state of the Commonwealth will be one of shame, out of control spending, and change that no one wanted.
16 August 2016
The SPEAKER (Anna Burke - Labour, Chisholm): Now it's time for Questions Without Notice. The....the behaviour on both sides of the House is far too rowdy and is against the spirit of the House and its code of conduct. I do advise the noise and those who are consistently calling out during questions and answers to remember that you may be asked to leave the chamber under Standing Order 94-A. The warnings given earlier in the day are still in effect. I call on the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. PYNE (Leader of the Opposition - Conservative, Sturt): My question is to the Prime Minister. Madam Speaker, the Sydney Morning Herald has run an article in which they have called the Clinton Foundation, the non-profit organisation started by former Progressive Party leader Bill Clinton, among other things "opaque and rife for corruption, particularly since the Mrs. Clinton now sits in the big chair and runs the Government". Furthermore, it has gone on as saying that the Australian Tax Office have advised the Federal Police to investigate the Clinton Foundation for alleged irregularities involving tax write-offs. Prime Minister, when will you finally let the Australian people know your dealings in public?
Prime Minister HILLARY CLINTON (Progressive, Parramatta): To answer his question, I am not responsible for the running of the Clinton Foundation. That question would be better directed to my husband, who is the founder and heads the Foundation. I want to further...
(Opposition members jeer.)
Mrs. BISHOP (Conservative, Curtin): Why can't she tell the truth? She's always lying!
Prime Minister HILLARY CLINTON: Well...the Conservative Party wants to shout me down, but they are upset with the fact that this Government won an election based on the policies of the previous 4 years of Conservative rule. The previous government left us precarious situations with anaemic economic growth. But of course, they claimed to be the stewards of the economy in the election. So why is it under this Government that equality is already coming to all Australians, with the wealth gap at its narrowest in its history?
(Government members cheer)
Mr. Pyne can try and tear me down by using the business that my husband conducts against me, but as far as I recall, I am the Prime Minister and this is MY Government, not my husband's. Now, to continue answering his question, to my knowledge, the Clinton Foundation is going to cooperate with the investigation and in the meantime, we will continue to work for equal pay for equal work, an economy that is sustainable and create new, green, hi-tech jobs.
(Government members taunt. Opposition members laugh.)
Mr. ALBANESE (Progressive, Grayndler): What a waste of a question!
Mr. BURKE (Progressive, Watson): The Opposition haven't got a clue!
Mr. PYNE: Oh, Madam Speaker. Haven't we heard it all from one of the most corrupt politicians in Australia? At one point, she was at the beck and call of the Labour Party in the Senate, trying to impede our Government's plans. The very Government, Madam Speaker, that afforded the Prime Minister a stable, strong economy. Let's see how long the left keep it together. Last time, it only took a year for one of the two left parties to destroy the economy under Kevin Rudd. Hillary Clinton is just more of the same masquerading in orange instead of red.
The SPEAKER: The Leader of....the Leader of the House will wait. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The Leader of the House...on a point of order.
Mr. ALBANESE: Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition must refer to the Prime Minister by the appropriate title. Further more, his statement is false. The Progressive Party has never shared platform with the Labour Party, and we ask that the question be rephrased.
(Opposition members holler and jeer.)
The SPEAKER: Members on my left....the Member for Mackellar will cease interjecting or leave under 94-A. She has already been warned once. As for my ruling, the Leader of the Opposition will rephrase the question and refer to the Prime Minister by her appropriate title.
Mr. PYNE: Yes, I will, Madam Speaker. This Prime Minister is not to be trusted. She is merely taking policies that she once opposed and repackaged them. Much like what the Clinton Foundation does when it says it engages in charity and foreign development. It just repackages what personal bank accounts do but without any of the taxable...
The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat....(Mr. Pyne begins to argue) No, no....the Leader of the Opposition will not argue with the chair. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat, and he is warned.
Mr. HUNT (Conservative, Flinders East): She is corrupt! Resign!
(Opposition members chant "resign".)
The SPEAKER: Members on my left will stop this at once. I will keep the House here until every question has been heard. I have a few words for the Conservative Party members. This display is beyond juvenile and it is not befitting of the most senior legislators in Australia. The public don't like this and I certainly do not. Now, the next group of you to chant like that again will be automatically removed under 94-A and will not be asked back into the chamber until everyone of that group come to the Speaker's Office and have a lesson in parliamentary procedure. No, the Labour Party and One Nation are not exempt from this either! Now, since we are halted, I would like to extend a welcome to the visiting 6th year classes from Flinders Middle School. They were on a tour of Parliament earlier today and have been able to sit in the chamber today. On behalf of the Parliament, welcome.
The HOUSE: Hear.
The SPEAKER: Questions will resume, but we will move on from the Leader of the Opposition. I call the Member for Whitlam.
Mr. JONES (Progressive, Whitlam): Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment on behalf of the Minister for Business, Science, Innovation and Skills. The government's apprenticeship scheme has been touted as delivering thousands of opportunities for our young people across Australia, but the scheme has yet to be delivered to my constituents and many others across the country. Will the Minister continue to expand the programme so that all Australians will benefit from these opportunities?
Mr. BOWEN (Progressive, McMahon): Thank you for your question. I have looked into the programme extensively and found that only since the Government secured the proper funding for this initiative has it finally been rolled out to more communities beyond the eastern Sydney suburbs and Canberra. And guess whose constituents lived in those areas that received the programme? The previous Government's. Madam Speaker, I cannot think of something that defines corruption than a government that announces policy and only rolls it out to benefit their mates and their big business friends in areas that could have created their own apprenticeships without the government helping. The Workplace Apprenticeship Scheme was designed by the Labour Party for what was supposed to be communities who needed additional funding, not for the affluent eastern Sydney suburbs. That is really what we call lining the pockets of the well off with money from the battlers. So much for being on the side of the battlers and truckies.
The SPEAKER: Members on my right. I call on the Member for Menzies.
Mr. ANDREWS (Conservative, Menzies): Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, you rose to power with a coalition deal that was only announced on RN Breakfast the day before the election, lied to the Australian people and claimed that the Conservative Party left you a deficit when the Parliamentary Budget Office quickly debunked that untruth, and now you remain opaque on the Clinton Foundation and whether or not your Government is benefiting your organisation. When will the Prime Minister finally, to use her own words, develop a better relationship with the truth?
Prime Minister HILLARY CLINTON: I have not told any untruths to the Australian people. (Conservative members laugh and taunt.) I have already handled the matter regarding the Clinton Foundation in a previous answer, so I will direct the Member for Menzies to that answer. But can I say this to the Conservative Party: when will you be a credible opposition and show the Australian people your own alternative government. This Government is delivering on its promises with a vote on the public infrastructure investment bank to come later today and further implementation of this coalition's policies. Our Green Party and First Nation partners have continued to work with us to build a stable government, and I've got news for them: the public want more of our ideas. (Government members cheer.) The latest polling from the Northern Territory and ACT show that the Coalition will win a landslide in the ACT and we're closing the gap in the Northern Territory. That is the truth, and I hope that the Conservatives develop a better relationship with it. I'm finding that the truth has become a great friend of mine in recent days.
(Government members cheer and opposition members laugh.)
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Motion: The House censures the Prime Minister in regards to her conduct.
The question is not carried by an absolute majority of members, as required under Standing Order 47.
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)