House debates

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Member for Dobell

9:27 am

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the House) Share this | Hansard source

That will be debated if this suspension motion is carried. Yet I am surprised, actually, that there is nothing about the payments this year by the Victorian Liberal Party to one of their senior people, who is now a minister in the Victorian government. He had his legal fees paid for by the Victorian Liberal Party. What did the parliamentary Liberal Party of Victoria, of which the shadow finance minister is a prominent member, have to say about it? 'Oh, that's normal.'

I notice that the Leader of the Opposition has not moved this suspension motion, and that is not surprising. To have the Leader of the Opposition stand up and move a suspension of standing orders to speak about late declarations would indeed be problematic for the Leader of the Opposition, because we know that the Leader of the Opposition was also twice extremely problematic with his late declarations about a range of issues, and just said, 'Oh well, don't worry about that.' We know that the Leader of the Opposition has a great deal of form when it comes to these issues, because he established a fund when he was part of the government. This is what he had to say about where the money, the $100,000, came from to go into that fund. Did he come in here and give an explanation to parliament? Did he say that everyone should have a right to know? No. The Leader of the Opposition told the Sydney Morning Herald on 5 September 2003 'there are some things the public has no particular right to know'. That is a mantra he lives his life by. But we also know that he told the ABC that he did not give Terry Sharples a loan guarantee for his costs, even though the Sydney Morning Herald had a copy of a note witnessed and dated 11 July 1998, which had the statement 'My personal guarantee that you will not be further out of pocket'. We never found out where all that money came from or what it was used for. The Leader of the Opposition thought that was fine. But it has carried on.

On 20 June this year the Australian newspaper ran a story about jeweller Peter Dracakis, a shop owner in Mr Abbott's electorate, who was complaining about having to pay workers overtime rates—this is something I have raised in parliament before. Peter's father, Paul, was listed as the President and Financial Controller of the Warringah Club, which is the Leader of the Opposition's personal fundraising group, the same group that has raised $110,000 for the Leader of the Opposition since August 2008, probably something that he thought no-one needed to know about. Certainly the Australian newspaper was not told about this before it was splashed on the front page of the newspaper—this innocent small-business owner just having a view out there, not connected to the Liberal Party, not connected to the Leader of the Opposition whatsoever. Once again, this shows the Liberal Party's response and hypocrisy.

This is a very dangerous road that the opposition go down. They go down this road because they are absolutely desperate to trash any convention whatsoever. This is not a conservative leading the opposition; this is a reactionary who is prepared to tear up due process, to tear up our parliamentary conventions and to tear up the principles of innocence which everyone is entitled to under the rule of law. As he said himself: 'You do not have to judge me by my words; you can me judge by my actions.' (Time expired)


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