House debates

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Statements by Members

Turnbull Government

1:54 pm

Photo of Joel FitzgibbonJoel Fitzgibbon (Hunter, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Agriculture) Share this | | Hansard source

I am glad the Prime Minister has joined us for this debate because it is my melancholy duty to inform him that no-one in this country believes a word he says any longer. The other bad news is that he now has a Treasurer, and it is a Treasurer of his choice, who is dragging him down into the lowest depths in respect of the broader community. They cannot believe a word the Prime Minister says or a word the Treasurer says, because every day they say something different.

Some of my colleagues have provided many examples, but I just want to give another one today. I want to talk about Gonski, because the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, and the minister sitting behind the Prime Minister, the Hon. Christopher Pyne, said they support Labor's Better Schools Plan, but they will not fund it. There could be no greater example of their hypocrisy and their incompetence than saying they support Gonski but refuse to back it with the necessary funding. Today, I am asking where is the National Party? Their failure to fund Gonski, their flip-flop on Gonski, will hurt those in rural and regional Australia most where public schools, for example, lack the critical mass of students needed to remain viable and where distance is a problem for those children who are challenged and those who need a leg-up.

Prime Minister, my sad news is that it was humiliating for you in question time yesterday and your Treasurer is part of the problem— (Time expired)