House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Questions without Notice


3:37 pm

Photo of Warren TrussWarren Truss (Wide Bay, National Party, Leader of the Nationals) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to remarks made last night by Sir Rod Eddington, who is chairman of Infrastructure Australia, who questioned the policy-making process behind the government’s great big new tax on the mining industry and urged the Prime Minister to dump the tax and start again. If the Prime Minister will not listen to warnings from his principal business advisor, who will he listen to?

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

As I said when asked about this by the media earlier today, as far as Sir Rod’s comment goes on the question of consultation we welcome any commentary from those outside who want to see a good outcome to the negotiations currently underway between the government and the mining industry. Therefore, within that spirit I welcome Sir Rod’s comments on the question of consultation. I note however, that this question was asked by the Leader of the National Party and I note that he is not actually bringing into the frame the leading pin-up boy of the National Party in Queensland, Clive Palmer.

I know Clive was in town yesterday. It is hard to miss Clive—not just his jet, but Clive himself—when he is in town. He made some interesting comments last night, I think. His description, which I presume reflects the position of those opposite, was that once there was Marx, then there was Engels and now there is Rudd. Marx, Engels and Rudd, so there is a communist conspiracy underway. But what I find confounding is this: the Clive Palmer who bankrolls the Liberal and National Party in Queensland seems to make a powerful amount of money from Chairman Mao’s China.

I say to those opposite that when they seek to invoke the names of various commentators in the debate on the future of the super profits tax it is very instructive to reflect on: firstly, who bankrolls the Liberal and National parties?—Clive Palmer. Secondly, who stands up, therefore, and says that these resources are not owned by the Australian people?—Clive Palmer. And thirdly, therefore, are those opposite acting in the national interest in their participation in this debate or acting simply as emissaries of various branches of the mining industry? On the question of employment which was raised—

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise on a point of order. I simply ask you: how could it be relevant when the Prime Minister was asked about Sir Rod Eddington’s comments, for him to go into a diatribe about another member for the community, who is not part of this question?

Photo of Harry JenkinsHarry Jenkins (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I am going to have to be very careful or these comments will be misinterpreted. The question went to: if the Prime Minister would not listen to Sir Rod Eddington, who will he listen to? He seems to be indicating somebody that he has listened to. I do not want that to be misinterpreted to but that is where it is at.

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

Elegantly summarised, Mr Speaker, because—

Photo of Harry JenkinsHarry Jenkins (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Do not overdo it, Prime Minister.

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

I will not be listening to Clive Palmer. I do not think anyone on this side of the House will be listening to Clive Palmer, but I know those opposite will be listening to Clive Palmer because he bankrolls those members opposite in terms of their political parties—$800,000 contributed to the LNP last year alone.

On the question of consultation, the government is engaged in a process with the mining industry. That will continue. This is a tough negotiation process but we in the government are up for an exercise of national economic reform. Those opposite are simply acting as emissaries on the part of a mining industry, which the Leader of the Opposition says pays too much tax already. The government’s view is this: this tax reform is necessary to deliver better super for working families. It is necessary to bring down the company tax rate for all Australian companies. It is necessary to bring about a tax break for Australian small business and it is necessary, also, to fund the future infrastructure needs of Australia. That is why the government is committed to fundamental tax reform and that is why those opposite are acting purely as the mouthpieces of Clive Palmer as they engage in this debate.