House debates

Monday, 18 June 2007

Questions without Notice


3:07 pm

Photo of Kevin RuddKevin Rudd (Griffith, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister and goes to the integrity of the cabinet decision-making process on broadband. Will the Prime Minister confirm that public servants were requested to prepare electorate maps for the purposes of the 5 June cabinet meeting that determined the government’s ‘top 40’ broadband policy? Were electorate maps referred to in that meeting?

Photo of John HowardJohn Howard (Bennelong, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I was actually absent from the 5 June meeting, so I am not a direct witness. But, knowing him as I do, I am absolutely certain that the Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister would have conducted the cabinet meeting with complete integrity and propriety and that appropriate advice would have been obtained before that meeting. The most important thing is that the right decision was taken. What came out of that meeting was a decision that 99 per cent of Australians will have access in two years time—as against four or five years time from the Labor Party taxpayer funded scheme—to very fast broadband.

I just do not understand why the Leader of the Opposition is going on about and criticising a decision that is good for 99 per cent of the Australian people. It beggars belief that the Leader of the Opposition could object to something which is overwhelmingly in favour of people spread right throughout the country. As understanding of this decision spreads around Australia, he will find that it is even-handed in its benefits and even-handed in its application. If 99 per cent of the population is going to benefit, how on earth can the Leader of the Opposition be logically opposed to it?