Jun 24, 2009

Question without notice – Business of the House

Mr PRICE (2:52 PM) —My question is to the Leader of the House. Will the Leader of the House outline the importance of progressing the government’s legislative program? What considerations need to be taken into account in completing the program?

Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) —I thank the Chief Government Whip for his question. In the entire time that I have been in this House, I have never seen a motion to suspend standing orders during question time greeted with such silence from the opposition leader’s own side—

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr ALBANESE —because they know what he does not know himself. I understand that the member for Wentworth knows a dead cat when he sees one, but this one has got no bounce.

On Monday, we interrupted the government’s legislative agenda for 5½ hours. Those opposite did not seek to move, at 12 o’clock, when invited to by the government, a censure motion. That was at a time when they were still saying that the fake email was real. Two days later, when they know it is a fake, they come in here and move a suspension of standing and sessional orders for a censure motion. What an extraordinary position. I understand that their tactics committee met until 1.30 this morning. It has become a conference. When I turned on the television to watch Sky News this morning I had to check what I was watching. There was Kieran Gilbert in the studio, interviewing the Leader of the Opposition. But watching the Leader of the Opposition I could have sworn I was witnessing the ghost of Mark Latham. It was all there: the jaw jutting out, all the fake aggression, all the machismo, all the ‘we’re going well’! We used to hear it. We used to hear, ‘It’s all going well!’

Mr Abbott —Mr Speaker, on a point of order. Much as I enjoy references to the Labor Party’s former leader, this is quite out of order under standing order 104.

The SPEAKER —The member for Warringah will resume his seat. The Leader of the House will relate his material to the question.

Mr ALBANESE —There is someone who knows about boxing! The fact is that this government does have a big legislative agenda. I understand why those opposite want to move suspensions of standing orders—because they have no questions. They have no questions. Why else? When was the last time a suspension was moved after three questions? When was the last time?

An opposition member—Four.

Mr ALBANESE —Three questions. They cannot even count. After three questions, they moved to shut question time down, because all they have got is a fake email—that is all they have got—and they have had a shocker of a week with this reincarnation of Mark Latham opposite here. Cab drivers are nervous! Lucky we have Comcar. Mr Speaker—

Mr ABBOTT (Warringah) [2:57 PM] —I move:

That the member be no longer heard.

Question put.