House debates

Monday, 31 May 2010

Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010; Paid Parental Leave (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010

Second Reading

7:06 pm

Photo of Damian HaleDamian Hale (Solomon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I accept that, Mr Deputy Speaker, and thank the shadow minister for the interjection. What I will say is that I was reading it and so it is probably true. He read his speech and said in his contribution to this debate, ‘I have listened to my colleagues.’ We know that is a lie because the Leader of the Opposition did not listen to his colleagues. It came as a surprise to them that suddenly he had found this new-found socialistic bone in his body and was going to bring in a paid parental leave scheme. I continued to have a little bit more of a look at his contribution to this debate. I always wondered why in 12 years, sitting on big surpluses, not once did they try to introduce a paid parental leave scheme. This goes to the core of this debate because it is about the honesty of the Leader of the Opposition when it comes to this issue. He suddenly comes into this House and expects the Australian public to believe that he has a paid parental leave scheme that is bigger and better than anything that has ever been put forward before. I will get to how he is going to fund it, because that is a separate issue altogether. After being a cabinet minister for the last 11 years, right in the inner sanctum of the coalition government under John Howard, and then driving to work—or he might have been riding his pushbike because I do not think he uses Commonwealth cars and I commend him on that—he suddenly thought: ‘Yep, I’ve got the scheme. I’ve got it. I am gonna nail it. This is what I am going to do.’

He forgot, because he has got a little bit of a selective memory, that in 2002 he said ‘over my dead body’ would there ever be a paid parental leave scheme. But suddenly the Leader of the Opposition has found this great socialistic reform that will come to pass. It came to him in this bubble that he first took to the press, where he does most of his best work, and then took to the party room. I remember that, back in December when he was preparing to lead the coup against the former Leader of the Opposition and when he did not want to be called a climate sceptic, he decided that the reason—


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