Tuesday, 23 November 2021
Questions without Notice
ESE (—) (): My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Why did the Prime Minister in his last answer say that he didn't pay parents to vaccinate their children when that is exactly what his government did?
MORRISON (—) (): The entitlement which is provided to Australians, which the member refers to, was not being made to those who weren't getting their children vaccinated to attend child care. That is the policy. That is the withdrawing of a payment, not the paying of it. The Leader of the Opposition seems confused about this. I know what the Leader of the Opposition's policy was over these last months. He wanted to pay people with a cash bribe to get vaccinated. That was the Leader of the Opposition's policy.
Yes, Mr Speaker, on relevance. This went to the Prime Minister's No Jab, No Pay policy and the fact that he, once again, before the chamber, misled the parliament in saying that he didn't pay people. That's why it was called 'No Jab, No Pay', because you were paying people.
Mr Speaker, there are many occasions where the Leader of the Opposition comes to the dispatch box under the guise of making a point of order. It doesn't happen. He makes a political statement from the dispatch box, and he should be ruled out of order.
The point of order is with respect to the ruling that you made, where you ruled that the Prime Minister was in order on the basis that he was being relevant to the question. That's what you ruled. And, to that ruling, I'm saying: how can it be, when a question has nothing to do with Labor policy, that you're now going to allow an answer like this? How does that happen?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. The policies that we've put in place have ensured that we have had record levels not only of child immunisation; the policies we have pursued through the pandemic were not to pay people cash bribes, as the Labor leader wished to do, but we—
Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister just made a very specific allegation, which was unparliamentary, against a member of parliament. If he wants to accuse people of that, he needs to withdraw. It cannot be allowed to stand. If that's allowed to stand then it will be a free-for-all.
The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. It shouldn't come as any great surprise that the level of interjections was so great that I actually didn't hear what the Prime Minister said. Did the Prime Minister make an unparliamentary comment?
An opposition member: Yes, he did.
Well, I'm not in a position—if the Leader of the Opposition would just resume his seat for a moment. If the level of interjections was so high that I simply could not hear what the Prime Minister was saying then it shouldn't come as any great surprise that I can't rule on that. The Prime Minister has indicated—the Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat for a moment. The Prime Minister has the call.
In what you dealt with just then, you asked the Prime Minister whether or not he believed he'd said something unparliamentary. What I am putting to you, so that you know what was said, is that it was an accusation using a term that is a criminal offence. If you're going to allow that to stand, that is a very significant shift, a very significant shift.
The Prime Minister will resume his seat for one moment. I just want to make very clear that, if members of this House are wanting me to be able to rule on issues, I need to be able to hear them. So the level of interjections is far too high, and I would appreciate if those honourable members would conduct themselves appropriately. The Prime Minister has the call.
That is the Labor policy—to pay people who'd already had vaccinations. I can understand why the Leader of the Labor Party is so embarrassed about this policy. It was a fiscally reckless policy and it's why he can't be trusted with the nation's finances.
Mr Speaker, if the question were about Labor Party policies it would be a very short answer, because there are not many out there, I've got to tell you. There's only one thing worse than Australians knowing what Labor would do; it is them not knowing what Labor would do, because they're trying to sneak their way into government. This is a very sneaky Leader of—