Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Mr Speaker, I thank you for your ruling and I also thank the Leader of the House for the courtesy that has been extended. It is very important that standing orders be suspended, because this matter cannot wait. It is urgent that this Prime Minister stand up and explain herself before this House, because this is a Prime Minister who is constantly running away from scrutiny. This is a Prime Minister who wants to indulge in spin and hide from scrutiny. We saw in this parliament today, time after time, ministers who are on strike. That is what we have seen from this government today in question time. We have seen ministers who have been on strike. They have constantly demanded that questions be asked; they have constantly demanded that question time run its full tenure; and then, when questions are duly asked, they go on strike and refuse to answer them. This is a shameful and embarrassing performance from a government that just gets worse every single day.
The Prime Minister says that next week she will go around our country talking to families and workers. Fair enough, but what about explaining herself to this parliament? This is a Prime Minister who was not honest with the Australian people before the last election. Fifteen times, no less, I said during the election campaign: as sure as night follows day, if this government is re-elected there will be a carbon tax. We all know what the Prime Minister said. She said, six days before the election, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.' Then she said, the day before the election, 'I rule out a carbon tax.' That is why standing orders need to be suspended—so this Prime Minister can explain herself. She should explain why she is running away from the people at a plebiscite. She should explain why she is trying to have her carbon tax sneaked through this parliament, whose mandate, if this parliament has any mandate at all, is not to introduce this carbon tax. That is why standing orders should be suspended and that is why this Prime Minister should explain herself.
This is a Prime Minister who is afraid. She is very afraid. She is afraid of voters, she is afraid of workers, and now she is afraid of this parliament. She will not answer questions this week—we saw that in the parliament today. She will not answer questions next week, because she will not recall the parliament. She will not even face the parliament now. No recent previous Prime Minister would have shown such gutlessness in the face of the parliament. This is the fourth or fifth time that this Prime Minister, in a cowardly fashion, has scurried out of this parliament to have a Tim Tam in the whip's office instead of facing this parliament, as she should, to explain herself.
Standing orders must be suspended because the arguments that this government relies upon to justify its carbon tax are both lies. This Prime Minister says the thousand big polluters will pay. If it is just a thousand big polluters, why on earth is there a compensation package? Why on earth is there a battlers buffer if it is just the evil 1,000 who are going to have to pay this tax. It is complete nonsense. The voters are not mugs, and the Prime Minister should explain herself, which is why standing orders should be suspended.
The other lie that this Prime Minister and the government—