Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Questions without Notice
I too have a question for the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline for the House the importance of delivering the big reforms like improving our schools, investing in infrastructure and putting a price on carbon based on hard facts and real evidence?
I thank the member for Reid for that question. The reforms of the past have helped deliver the prosperity that we have today, and the reforms of today will help deliver the prosperity of tomorrow. That is why, for example, the mining resource rent tax is so important to deliver those reforms that I was talking to the member for Lyne about before. The $6,500 instant asset write-off is a fundamental reform for up to 2.7 million small businesses. We are all proud of that. We on this side of the House are proud of putting a price on carbon so that our children and our grandchildren can have a clean energy future. I am proud of what we have done in terms of workforce participation—a tripling of the tax-free threshold, a fundamental reform to lift workforce participation. I am proud of the doubling of investment in infrastructure—most particularly the NBN but also road, rail and port. All of these are very big reforms.
But there is no reform that I am prouder of than what this government is doing not just in skills and training—including the $3 billion on the table in the last budget—but in education more generally. We have got an additional 150,000 students in our tertiary system. It is about what we are doing and will continue to do in our schools, both primary and secondary. Nothing matters more to our future prosperity than the investment in the education of our young people, and that comes through primary and secondary education. In those areas, in those schools, not only do we get the productivity of the future, what we get is opportunity for all of our students.
We know that the opposition does not support investing in better schools. We know that the Leader of the Opposition wants to get the axe out and axe funding for public schools. That is what he meant yesterday when he was talking about 'the injustice'.
Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: under standing order 92(b) I find it offensive and disorderly for the Treasurer to continue to make false accusations and perpetuate falsity about the coalition's policy.
Everybody in this House knows that there is a $70 billion crater in the budget bottom line of the Liberal and National parties because the shadow Treasurer said so on breakfast television. We know that they have a secret plan to slash funding for health and education because of that $70 billion crater they have in their budget bottom line. What we now also know from the shadow Treasurer today is that he says they have got all their policies costed—they are all actually out there.
Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: yesterday we saw some scenes in this parliament that some would say appeared disorderly. If the Treasurer continues to make untrue statements and perpetuate falsities it leads to disorderly conduct in the chamber. I find it offensive and disorderly.
It is very simple. We on this side of the House understand the importance of investment in schools when it comes to productivity and opportunity in our society. They do have a plan to slash public funding of schools and they are now going to run a campaign, not unlike what they ran when it came to carbon pricing, but their scare campaign is going to fall apart all around.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Before we take the next question, I ask you, under standing order 90, how could it not be an imputation of improper motives to suggest things of the opposition members like myself that are simply utterly false statements? I would ask you to bring the Treasurer back to order when he does that repeatedly.
The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.
Mr Melham interjecting—
The member for Banks has form as well. The Manager of Opposition Business is aware there are other forms of the House in which he can pursue this issue. If I pulled up every speaker in this House on behalf of every other speaker in this House on the basis of what they thought was an untruth, I do not think a speech would be given. The member for Reid, are you seeking the call on a supplementary?
I am not trivialising it. The member for Reid will resume his seat. My apologies to the member for Reid. The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. I am not trivialising this. I am making a point that, probably, if you all go and now reflect on many of the speeches that have been given in this parliament in this session by many people on all sides of this parliament, standing order 90 has been observed more in the breach than in reality. I am finding it very difficult to pull up everybody because I do not think we would get through a speech in this place.
Madam Deputy Speaker, with the greatest respect to you, I ask you to reflect in future on ejecting members from the House who are responding to disorderly conduct from the government ministers and the Prime Minister—
The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business is aware there are other forms of the House. Interjecting, calling out and not observing the standing orders is not one of them. There are other forms of the House, and I would welcome people to use them at the end of question time.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. The Treasurer has just spoken about the importance of getting the facts right when talking about the impacts of carbon pricing. Treasurer, are there any examples that show what happens when the facts are misrepresented?
We said that carbon pricing will have a modest impact on prices in our economy. The Treasury modelling shows that the price impact would be 0.7 per cent—less than one cent in the dollar. That is why I was shocked to see reports yesterday suggesting a butcher in my electorate was increasing prices by 15 to 20 per cent. The ACCC investigated these reports and found that the butcher had been misquoted.
I had the pleasure of speaking to the butcher, Luke, this morning. He is a great young man. He has got a great business. He has a very good reputation in my electorate and he deserves a lot better than being dragged into some political scare campaign by those opposite, which is not based on facts. They were in here yesterday with the results of a so-called study but, as we go through it, we find it is just simply not true. They never bothered to check the facts; in fact, they do not care about the facts. All they want to do is peddle fear. And they do not care who they hurt, what business they hurt or what community they hurt. They will go out there and make these extraordinary claims. The chickens are all coming home to roost for the Leader of the Opposition. He is the most aggressively negative opposition leader in our history. He is all opposition and no leadership.
Mr Buchholz interjecting—