Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Questions without Notice
Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry
My question is to the Prime Minister. This government has created a part-time parliament by scheduling just 10 sitting days in eight months. Why is the Prime Minister stopping the parliament from sitting for more days—preventing the parliament from legislating the recommendations of the banking royal commission before the election? After voting against the banking royal commission no fewer than 26 times, why is the Prime Minister insisting on another delay?
The tone changed pretty quickly there, didn't it? I thank the member for the question. The question goes to the matters that the government is dealing with in this parliament. The next big thing the government is doing is handing down a surplus budget on 2 April. The budget has been brought forward to 2 April. In the normal course of events, this is the sitting schedule that enables the budget to be prepared on that day. So the government will hand down the first surplus budget by any government in 12 years. That's what we're doing. That's what we're working on—restoring the budget to balance. The budget was left in tatters by the Labor Party the last time they had the opportunity to manage the treasury bench.
I was asked about the recommendations of the royal commission. It has now been eight days, and we are still waiting for a response to the royal commission from the Leader of the Opposition. What we have from the Leader of the Opposition and the Labor Party is an in-principle response. Are we going to have an in-principle budget from the Labor Party if they're elected? Are we going to have in-principle border protection? Are we going to have in-principle budgets in the future? No. They have carped about this issue, but when it comes to actually providing a response themselves they are yet to do so. They are yet to provide that response.
Our full response means that we are taking action on all 76 recommendations. Indeed, there is legislation that the opposition can support even now in this chamber and in the other chamber to take action on those measures. When we introduced the Banking Executive Accountability Regime and the bank levy, who dragged their feet in supporting those bills? The Labor Party. The Labor Party whinged and carped and complained and delayed and stalled on both bills. After dragging them to the table, they eventually voted for it and claimed it was bipartisanship. But that is always the way with the Labor Party. Whether it's on important matters of economic security or national security, you have to drag them to the table.
Now, I also make the point that there are 40 recommendations that require legislation. The Law Council has said you don't go and do that in some sort of pre-election frenzy. What you do is calmly and carefully prepare that legislation. You consult on it to ensure there are no unintended consequences and you do it as a responsible and rational government. The leader of the Labor Party will take a reckless approach to our economy, and his response on this matter determines that. (Time expired)