Mar 21, 2012

Question without notice – Legislative agenda

Mr FITZGIBBON (Hunter—Chief Government Whip) (14:47):  My question is to the Leader of the House. Will the Leader of the House outline how the government has progressed its policy and legislative agenda through the House? How has the government overcome obstacles, including attempts to influence its legislative program, to deliver this agenda? Why is important that we take a balanced and evidence based approach to dealing with government legislation?

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (14:47):  I thank the Chief Government Whip for his question. Indeed, the House has now passed almost 300 pieces of legislation in the 43rd Parliament, delivering a mainstream agenda, making sure we get the economy right, making sure that we create jobs and taking action on climate change, better retirement incomes and of course nationbuilding infrastructure. This is significant progress, in spite of the obstacles and the relentless negativity we get from those opposite and also from some outside the parliament.

All of our major reforms have been opposed by those opposite and fought for on the floor of this chamber, and their actions have been supported, and indeed bankrolled, by their allies outside this place. We will see one of them outside this place tomorrow morning, when Clive Palmer addresses tomorrow’s Global Warming Hoax rally. We will see, yet again, Clive Palmer with all the signs and the whole campaign.

Mrs Mirabella interjecting

Mr ALBANESE:  Maybe we will see the member for Indi travel to outside my electorate office to attend a meeting with these people, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER:  Order! The Leader of the House is aware that Clive Palmer is not relevant to the answer. The Leader of the House has the call to be directly relevant.

Mr ALBANESE:  Indeed what is relevant, Mr Speaker, is what occurs in terms of the legislation that is before this parliament and whether people use their great wealth to try to undermine the processes of this parliament. Mr Palmer is saying that he will take the legislation that was carried by this parliament to the High Court. He does not respect the views that have been put by the democracy in this parliament through the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Mr Andrews:  Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The minister is now directly defying the ruling that you made without any prompting from us on this side, and he should be brought back to the question.

The SPEAKER:  The minister was skating very close to doing that. He will return to the substance of the question and not mention Mr Palmer again.

Mr ALBANESE:  With the legislation that is before this parliament it is very important that we take into account people’s views. It is important that we take into account people’s views based upon the democratic principle of one vote one value, not on the basis of people’s wealth or their the ability to influence. It is important also that we respect the democratic decisions of this parliament. The Treasurer outlined the significant benefits that we are making through this parliament in reducing the taxation regimes of small business. Those opposite are supporting slugging those small businesses with increased tax just so that they can give a tax cut—

The SPEAKER:  The Leader of the House will return to the question in his remaining seven seconds.

Mr ALBANESE:  to Mr Palmer. I table the Courier-Mail article  which says, ‘Liberals ask Clive Palmer to be party president.’

The SPEAKER:  The Leader of the House will resume his seat.

Mr Andrews:  Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I make this point very seriously: there could be no clearer or more blatant defiance of a ruling which you made. You said that the minister should not mention that individual again. You gave him a chance. He has now defied you, and I urge you to take the action which should be taken in the interests of the decorum of this chamber.

The SPEAKER:  I sat the minister down and I warned the honourable the Leader of the House. A warning of course is a precursor to a naming.