House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Questions without Notice


3:47 pm

Photo of Kevin RuddKevin Rudd (Griffith, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | Hansard source

The member for North Sydney’s question went specifically to the impact of the government’s measures on the growth of the mining industry and on employment in the mining industry. I sought to answer both those things by reference to the government’s modelling contained in the Econtech government report. The member for North Sydney simply leapt to the dispatch box in order to make a separate political point himself. Mind you, I say that it is pretty interesting in this debate that the Leader of the Opposition seems to be rationed to one question a day these days. Perhaps that is because there has been some concern on the part of the member for Sturt about the, shall I say, demeanour of the Leader of the Opposition in this place.

Can I say in response to member for North Sydney’s question, given that he does ask all the questions on the economy—as the Leader of the Opposition seems to have been banned from asking any questions on the economy, because the Leader of the Opposition is bored by questions on the economy and is regarded by the former Treasurer as being innumerate on questions of the economy—that there are multiple third parties in this debate, many of whom have supported the government’s RSPT proposal. Many of them have contributed to Australian newspapers in recent times. Many of those views have been reflected in international journals as well. I would draw again the member for North Sydney’s attention to the editorial contained in the Financial Times only earlier this week. It said specifically:

The charge that it turns Australia into the “number one sovereign risk issue”, made by Tom Albanese, chief executive of Rio Tinto, is absurd.

Furthermore, the Financial Times said:

It will be a long-overdue update of the medieval practice of levying royalties on gross production. Being regressive, royalties squeeze marginal producers while letting those with the most abundant mines keep the largest share of their loot.

I draw his attention to that editorial. Editorials in the Financial Times are not written lightly. They are written on the basis of a considered analysis of all the contending views and all the contending analyses. What those opposite are doing at the moment is what they always do: engage in a fear campaign—a fear campaign on the resources tax, a fear campaign on the emissions trading scheme, a fear campaign on asylum seekers. All they actually do in the public policy debate is engage in a fear campaign, because that is what the Leader of the Opposition is an expert at doing.

We always hear opposition from the Leader of the Opposition; we never hear him propose anything. We hear negativity all the time, never positivity. We hear him stand opposed to everything the government puts forward. We never hear him propose anything, except one thing and that was his own great big new tax on everything. Having gone onto the Neil Mitchell show and sworn hand on heart that there will be no new taxes under the Liberal Party which he led, what did he do one month later: he jacked up the tax two per cent on all companies in the country with a turnover in excess of $5 million.

Can I just say to the Leader of the Opposition: on the question of the economy and why I presume he has been sin-binned by the member for North Sydney and the member for Sturt from asking any questions on the economy, he would be very well advised to go back to Fundamentals 101 and revisit his earlier statement that this economy could somehow survive the absence of stimulus over the last 18 months. The illiteracy of the Leader of the Opposition on questions of the economy becomes more apparent day by day not just in this place but right across the country, as he simply does not know how to add up.


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