Thursday, 15 February 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Treasurer, Senator Cormann. When asked about reports he had been enlisted by a group of government backbenchers known as the 'Parliamentary Friends of Payday Lending' to water down the Turnbull government's reforms to crack down on dodgy lenders, the Treasurer said:
… the report is entirely false.
Only a day later the member for Dawson, George Christensen, put his name to the backbench revolt. Does the Treasurer stand by his statement?
Can the minister confirm that the member for Dawson is once again dictating the government's economic agenda and attempting to stand in the way of fair reforms that would better protect vulnerable Australians?
I reject the premise of the question. The government respects absolutely the right of every member and senator in this parliament to stand up for their constituents the way they see fit. The member for Dawson is a very energetic local representative for his community. He is entitled to represent the views of his community as he sees fit, but the government's policy position is very clear.
This is what happens when a senator on the opposite side is handed a question by the tactics committee and then doesn't listen to the answer. If Senator Marshall had actually listened to the answer, he would have known and he would have understood that I confirmed that the government's policy position remains the same, that there hasn't been any change, and, as such, I completely and utterly reject the premise of the question which, quite frankly, he shouldn't even have asked.