Aug 14, 2007

Questions without Notice – Water

Mr ALBANESE (3.06 p.m.)—My question is to the Minister for Environment and Water Resources, and I refer the minister to his previous answer. Can the minister confirm that the Queensland Liberal Party moved in the Queensland parliament a motion demanding that planning and construction of the Wolffdene dam not proceed ‘in any way, now or at any time in the future’. Can the minister explain to the House why the Liberal Party opposed the planning and construction of the Wolffdene dam?

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER—Order! If the minister chooses to answer the question, he may.

Mr TURNBULL—I cannot explain whether that statement is correct—there is no-one here from the Queensland Liberal Party. But let me accept—

Mr Albanese—Mr Speaker, in order to assist the minister I seek leave—

The SPEAKER—The member will resume his seat. That is not a point of order.

Mr Albanese—I am seeking leave, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER—The member will resume his seat. That is not a point of order.

Mr Albanese—I am seeking leave, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER—The member will resume his seat or I will deal with him. Does the Manager of Opposition Business wish to raise a point of order?

Mr Albanese—No, Mr Speaker, I am seeking leave.

The SPEAKER—The Manager of Opposition Business may raise a point of order, but he may not seek leave. He will resume his seat immediately or I will deal with him.

Mr Albanese—I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. Under standing orders does it not say that you can seek leave at any time?

The SPEAKER—No; that is not a point of order and it does not say it under standing orders.

Mr Albanese interjecting—

Mr Farmer—Mr Speaker, with respect to this place, I draw attention to the gestures made by the member opposite towards the Speaker of the House, reflecting on the Chair. I would like you to take into account his hand gestures at the end of that comment.

The SPEAKER—The member will resume his seat. I have ruled on the points raised by the Manager of Opposition Business and I do not intend to revisit them.

Mr TURNBULL—As I was saying before the honourable member opposite went into a sort of paroxysm of St Vitus dance, leaping up and down, I cannot confirm whether this was the view of the Queensland Liberal Party. Oh, he has got it again!

Mr Albanese—Mr Speaker, I ask that whatever that was be withdrawn.

Mr TURNBULL—I withdraw the reference to St Vitus dance.

The SPEAKER—The minister has withdrawn.

Mr TURNBULL—I cannot say whether that is an accurate reflection of what the Queensland Liberal Party said.

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr TURNBULL—But we know that the Leader of the Opposition is very devoted to ‘echonomics’.

The SPEAKER—Order!

Mr TURNBULL—We know that he is trying to be a Liberal.

Mr Tanner interjecting—

The SPEAKER—Order! The minister will resume his seat. The member for Melbourne continues to interject. He has been warned; he will remove himself under standing order 94(a).

The member for Melbourne then left the chamber.

Mr TURNBULL—We know now that the member for Griffith’s defence for not building the Wolffdene dam is that the parliamentary Liberal Party in Queensland at the time was not in favour of it either. So we have had ‘echonomics’; now we have got ‘echohydrology’—we do not have any ideas of our own. But the fact remains that it is not just a question of not building a dam. Views will differ about a dam, about a recycling plant—they will differ about lots of things.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER—Order! The member for Holt.

Mr Gavan O’Connor interjecting—

Mr TURNBULL—The failure of leadership of the member for Griffith—

The SPEAKER—Order! The minister will resume his seat. The member for Corio will remove himself under standing order 94(a).

The member for Corio then left the chamber.

The SPEAKER—The minister has the call and the minister will be heard.

Mr TURNBULL—The Leader of the Opposition’s defence for cancelling the Wolffdene dam now apparently seems to be that the parliamentary Liberal Party did not want to build it. The people of Australia are entitled to expect leaders to lead and to form their own views. But, more importantly still, the failure of the Leader of the Opposition in cancelling that dam was that he replaced it with nothing else. It is one thing to say you do not agree with a dam or with a recycling plant or something else, but what he did then—

Ms Vamvakinou interjecting—

The SPEAKER—Order! The minister will resume his seat. The member for Calwell has been warned; she continues to interject. She will remove herself under standing order 94(a).

The member for Calwell then left the chamber.

The SPEAKER—The minister has the call and he will be heard.

Mr TURNBULL—The failure of the member for Griffith’s leadership—which underlines the lack of character that he has and his unfitness to be Prime Minister of this country—was that, recognising the great need for a secure water supply that south-east Queensland had, he cancelled one viable option and then replaced it with nothing else. It is for that reason that south-east Queensland is in dire risk of running out of water. The member for Griffith is the architect of south-east Queensland’s drought. His complacency, his inaction, is the reason south-east Queensland is short of water.

Mr Howard—Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.

Mr Albanese—I seek leave to table the Hansard from the Queensland parliament of 3 October 1989 under the Cooper National Party government.

Leave granted.