Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. I refer to the government subsidising Clive Palmer's luxury private jets and his comments about the LNP. As Clive says, 'I don't say goodbye to friends I've known for many years.' When did the government first realise it was subsidising luxury private jets for its friends?
I thank the member for Oxley for his question. In total, more than 1,360 operators have been supported to date. It's like the JobKeeper program. We didn't discriminate among those receiving JobKeeper. We provided it to all businesses that were eligible. It's like with the—
Opposition members interjecting—
The Deputy Prime Minister is answering by referring to the JobKeeper program for keeping people in work. We're talking about one of Australia's wealthiest people and his luxury private jet.
Manager of Opposition Business, I'm going to take that as a point of order on relevance, and the Deputy Prime Minister is 23 seconds into the answer. Before I call him back to the dispatch box—just put your seatbelt on for a tick! The nature of questions like this which are borderline, very borderline, where they're asking about political parties and friends and all the rest of it, certainly mean for me there is a much wider tolerance. The question could easily have been ruled out of order. I notice the Manager of Opposition Business shaking his head. If I applied the standing orders, I think I could have ruled it out five different ways, okay? And I won't go through them all now. So I do allow a lot more latitude, and, as I've said, we will address this at a later point. When it comes to questions and answers, I have to say—and I just give fair warning now—questions that are essentially political attack statements create a proportionate response, and, if the House wants to fix that, I'm more than happy to help, but it'll mean the questions will be very specific and the answers will be much shorter. But, on this question, the Deputy Prime Minister is being relevant to it—in fact, even re-reading it now, as I said, he's entitled to be answering in the way he is.
As I said, this program has supported 1,360 operators, including the one mentioned, who does employ a lot of Australians, let's face it. Love him or loathe him, he employs a lot of Australians, and we don't ask who goes on his planes. We don't ask. We haven't discriminated—
Mr Bowen interjecting—
The Deputy Prime Minister will pause. The member for McMahon will leave under standing order 94(a).
The member for McMahon then left the chamber.
I'd point out to those interjecting that there are a significant number of their colleagues who don't interject and I'm not going to detain the House by going through all of those I repeatedly ask not to interject. The Deputy Prime Minister.
I don't know why those opposite are engaging in this class warfare. We are getting on with the job of helping all Australians—all Australians, no matter what their stated income is—through this COVID recession. What I want to see, as the aviation minister, the minister responsible for transport, is more planes in the air, and we could do that by lifting those restrictions on our borders so that we can facilitate more interstate travel. More interstate travel means more planes flying to more destinations, and more jobs.