Nov 25, 2010

Question without notice – Gillard Government

Mr FITZGIBBON (3:16 PM) —My question is to the Leader of the House. Minister, how is the Gillard government delivering its legislative agenda? How has this been received and what is the government’s response?

Mr ALBANESE (Leader of the House) —I thank the Chief Government Whip for his question. When the 43rd Parliament was formed some were critical about how effectively we could govern. Of course we know that this is only the second time since Federation that those who have sat on the government benches have not had an absolute majority on the floor of the parliament.

Well, after five weeks of sittings we can say that this government has shown that the 43rd Parliament is able to get legislation through and is able to function in the national interest. This parliament has adopted important reforms in the National Health and Hospitals Network, in delivering the National Broadband Network, in providing assistance for higher education with student services and, just this week, again an important piece of legislation in reforming child care. Indeed, the government has not lost a single vote on legislation nor has a single amendment been passed to its legislation on the floor of this House—a remarkable achievement and a fact.

Indeed, the government have passed some 51 pieces of legislation—the radio communications amendment, social security amendment, the Civilian Corps, corporations, amending of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to save $1.9 billion, offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas, superannuation, carer recognition, civil dispute resolution, telecommunications legislation, territories’ law reform, income tax amendments, corporations amendments, water efficiency amendments, native title amendments. This is a parliament that is functioning and passing our legislation—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. Could the Leader of the House please return his list to the bathroom.

The SPEAKER —The member for Mackellar is warned! And, whilst I should not get into marking homework, I do not think it was one of her best efforts. It was a good try—but she is still warned.

Mr Melham interjecting—

The SPEAKER —The member for Banks!

Mrs Mirabella —The member for Banks could do better than that pathetic performance!

The SPEAKER —The member for Indi should be very careful. I cannot read the list to see if she has been warned, but she is warned now. The minister has the call.

Mr ALBANESE —Thank you, Mr Speaker. It was better than the member for Mackellar’s efforts on the sitting schedule, I will say that.

The fact is that this government have passed 51 pieces of legislation through this House with the support of the crossbenchers. We are showing that government can function effectively. We can cooperatively negotiate our legislation through this parliament. Those opposite simply take a negative approach where they have three-word slogans that all begin in ‘oppose’, ‘end’, ‘destroy’ or ‘stop’. With every single policy, that is where they are at—nothing positive whatsoever. We have also—

Mr McCormack interjecting—

The SPEAKER —The member for Riverina!

Mr ALBANESE —whilst we have been getting through this legislation, had over 90 hours of private members’ business before this parliament—

Mr McCormack interjecting—

The SPEAKER —The member for Riverina is warned!

Mr ALBANESE —and we have for the first time in a decade passed the private member’s bill moved by the member for Denison. The fact is that this parliament is functioning effectively, the fact is that this government is governing in the national interest and the fact is that those opposite just have not got over their 21 August loss. It is all negative. They are continuing with the same frame that they had during the election campaign of just oppose, destroy, stop, end. What the Australian people want is a positive vision for the future. If anything embodies the difference between the two political parties which seek to form government, it is the National Broadband Network.

Mr Morrison —Can I ask the Leader of the House to table the document he had there with the big green tick on it.

The SPEAKER —The only way I can get the minister to table it would be if I asked him whether he was reading from a document.