Mar 28, 2011

Suspension of standing and sessional orders – Gillard Government

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (Leader of the House) (10:17 AM) —They have had since Thursday to prepare their latest suspension motion and they could not move a motion that was in order. They had Friday, Saturday, Sunday and this morning and they could not move a motion that was in order. What they did was to take a press release and put it on letterhead. What a farce!

It is true that after 16 years New South Wales Labor was tired and had lost the support of the electorate. That is true. But after 16 months this bloke is tired and has lost the support of his own branch of the Liberal Party. They had to hide him in New South Wales. They had to hide him from the people of New South Wales because his judgment is simply wrong. This man is an extremist who contrasts with the state Liberal leaders. Indeed, it has been reported that Tony Abbott told caucus:

… we won’t win the next election by adopting a Barry O’Farrell-style small targets strategy.

Let me say this: the incoming Premier of New South Wales has never shared a platform with Pauline Hanson. I believe that he would never share a platform with ‘Tony Hanson’. It is no wonder that the leadership of the Liberal Party in his own state did not want him anywhere near a marginal seat in Western Sydney, in Newcastle or in the Illawarra. They did not want a bar of him in any of those seats. Here he is: a New South Wales based federal Liberal leader who had to be hidden during an election campaign.

It is not surprising because his views contrast with the views of mainstream Australia. Those views say that we need to do something about the National Broadband Network. Those views say that we need to take action on climate change. Those views say that we need national health reform. Those views say that the education of our kids is critical to our future.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop interjecting—

The SPEAKER —The member for Mackellar is warned.

Mr ALBANESE —The incoming Treasurer of New South Wales had this to say about climate change:

To every Australian, Professor Garnaut’s report is an alarming wake up call for action on climate change …

That is the view of the incoming New South Wales Treasurer. Of course, maybe he was listening to the Leader of the Opposition at different times because it was the Leader of the Opposition who said on 29 July 2009:

If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax?

That was the view of the Leader of the Opposition in 2009. Of course, that is consistent with the view of the Prime Minister of Australia in the lead-up to the 2007 election. John Howard went to that election calling for a price on carbon. This is what he had to say:

Now we must position Australia for a low carbon future.

But I think the best line in this speech is:

No great challenge has ever yielded to fear or guilt. Nor will this one.

So said the then member for Bennelong, and he went on to say:

Human ingenuity, directed towards clean technology and wise institutional design, remain our best weapon. The false prophets are those preaching Malthusian pessimism or anti-capitalism.

He continued:

Australia has the physical resources, the human capital and the technological strengths to be a global leader in key low emissions technologies. We can be an energy superpower in a carbon constrained future, but only with the right policy settings and only if we draw on all our national capabilities and resource advantages.

That is what he had to say. But not only has the Leader of the Opposition led the coalition into climate scepticism; they are also market sceptics. They are opposed to using the power of the market to drive change through the economy—to drive it through to the low-carbon economy that we will need. We all know that there are advantages in moving sooner; we all know that it will cost more if we delay. But those opposite seemed determined to do that.

John Howard then went on to say:

We do need massive investment in low carbon infrastructure and we do need a far-reaching new phase of economic reform here at home to establish a world-class emissions trading system.

That is what the then Prime Minister had to say in the lead-up to the 2007 election, where this government got a mandate to act on climate change. We have been consistent about acting on climate change.

But you do have to question the Leader of the Opposition’s judgment—to question why he will deny climate change science simply because he can see political advantage in it, and why he did something that John Howard would never have done, in sharing a stage with Pauline Hanson. There he was, with the extremists to the left and the extremists to the right. The member for Indi was there. The member for Mackellar was there. But have a look also at who was not there. The member for North Sydney was not there. The member for Wentworth was not there. Those people with a smidgin of judgment knew better than to go out and stand and give a speech in front of those banners. It shows an underlying arrogance in a man who will sell the public and his backbench short in reaching again for a scare campaign when they want facts, not fear. They have seen through it before, and now they are seeing through the ultimate hollow man in Australian politics.

Then we had—of all people, on a motion about leadership and the states of parties!—the Leader of the Nationals stand up and give us a lecture about the state of parties. This is a bloke who is the leader of a party that in Queensland has a leader who is not even in the parliament! They knocked over the leader of the LNP—

Honourable members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order.

Mr ALBANESE —and now you have a bloke who sits in the Queensland parliament, Jeff Seeney, and says, ‘Oh, I’m the pretend Leader of the Opposition for the moment.’ And you know what? The funniest thing about that was that they had a ballot over who could be the pretend Leader of the Opposition, even though Campbell Newman, the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, is sitting outside of the parliament. And the member for Rankin has got some mail to say that there will be a challenge on against Seeney tomorrow. Anything is possible. ‘Where else but Queensland,’ to borrow a phrase.

The fact is that we are here today to pass the resolution, to pass the bills, on the National Broadband Network. We are up to some 83 pieces of legislation which have passed this parliament—83 have passed; none have failed before this parliament since we were elected to office on 21 August last year. And the fact is that those opposite are so frustrated and angry with the judgment of the Australian people that they want to take it out on not just us and the people who are listening to this; they want to take it out on each other, which is why you have the divided rabble opposite, and why you have today—a day when the member for Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, was going to be the lead speaker—the Leader of the Opposition saying, ‘We can’t have Malcolm in the spotlight; I’d better go in and move another suspension of standing orders.’

The SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the House will refer to members by their parliamentary titles.

Mr ALBANESE —This is a farce. They could not even get it in order. No wonder they are nowhere near ready for government. They are barely ready to be an opposition.

Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I chose not to interrupt the Leader of the House during his speech, but I would ask him to withdraw a statement he made regarding the Leader of the Opposition where he referred to him by his wrong title and used another person’s name. I point out that the Leader of the Opposition is the only person in this parliament who has taken Pauline Hanson and One Nation to court. And it is wrong for the Leader of the House to use that phrase. I would ask him to withdraw.

The SPEAKER —To the Manager of Opposition Business, on part of his point of order: I did ask the Leader of the House to refer to members by their parliamentary titles. And I repeat what I said earlier on this sitting day: that there are other aspects of procedure that can be used if people are aggrieved by things that are said in debate. The question is—