Thursday, 21 October 2010
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Oxley for that very important question. There has been a range of commentary in recent days about monetary policy and banking regulation. The shadow Treasurer made his views well known this morning: he wants to re-regulate interest rates and wants to take punitive action against banks, and if we will not do so then the parliament should. Those were the words that he used this morning.
There has been a range of commentary today. The member for Cook was asked about this. He was asked what action should be taken. He said, ‘An infinite number of measures.’ But he could not name a single one. That was the member for Cook. The member for Mayo was asked about this, and he said, ‘I’ll let Joe Hockey talk about what, what, what we’ll do.’ That was the response of the member for Mayo. But you can always count on the member for Wentworth. He has been out there a lot: the Turnbull wing of the Liberal Party. He was out there today and was asked about this very important commentary.
The member for Wentworth was asked about it this morning and he had this to say about monetary policy: ‘Any precedent for the federal parliament regulating interest rates? You really should speak to Joe about that.’ The member for North Sydney went out and compounded it. A journalist said, ‘You’ve been a bit unclear about what you’re saying should be done.’ This is what the member for North Sydney said: ‘Well, look, I’m not going to be specific, because I’m not fully aware of exactly what the banks are asking for.’ These people have lost the plot. The final word on monetary policy goes to the member for Canning. He was asked about this, and this is what he said about this commentary.
My point of order is not on relevance, Mr Speaker; it is on another matter. If the opposition cannot ask questions that are not strictly within the standing orders, how can this answer be appropriate to the responsibilities of the Treasurer, when he is not responsible for the commentary of the opposition?
Order! I indicated my position about the question, which was not challenged at the time that it was raised. I will indicate that, to the extent that the answer goes to the comments, it would be in order; but any debating of those comments would be out of order. I would caution the Treasurer about that matter. The Treasurer has the call.
Government members interjecting—
Opposition members interjecting—
Order! If those on my left have a comment, they can come to the dispatch box and make that comment. I am not going to respond to what people believe to be helpful advice by interjection. If the helpful advice is that the member for Canning has already made this personal explanation: (a) I am unaware of it, and (b) regrettably, many members of this place have been in the position where they have had to continually make re-announcements of an explanation. Whilst I regret that, that has been the situation for a number of parliaments. I have offered the member for Canning the opportunity to remake the personal explanation. The Treasurer has a minute and half to go, but is hopefully in conclusion.