Parliamentary

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (12:14): I rise today, on this last day of sitting, to mention the Yarra Glen Bushfire Memorial, which I know Mr Deputy Speaker Mitchell will be familiar with. The memorial to commemorate the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009 was unveiled on 25 November. I note on this last day of sitting that the fifth anniversary of that shocking day will have arrived when we next meet. It was a very moving time on 25 November to see the unveiling of what is a very touching memorial, created by local artist Ernst Fries. As the 110 or so people at the event saw, it depicts the tragedy and the recovery. Indeed, it has three large screen panels constructed from coloured transparent glass, firstly depicting the ferocity of the fires, then the recovery and finally the hope for the future following that disaster. The memorial is in…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (10:32): In rising to speak on this motion, I want to say how compelling the contributions have been, from the Deputy Prime Minister in the House to all those who have contributed over the last few hours, including the previous speaker, the member for Grayndler. It was a little over a half a century before Nelson Mandela's birth that Abraham Lincoln said: Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. The life of Nelson Mandela is one that demonstrated humility and nobility. All of us, in speaking on this motion, are recognising a man who occupies pride of place in the pantheon of history's greatest peacemakers. Many speakers have spoken of the adversity he confronted and, of course, he confronted it on the first day of his birth because he was born into a society built…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (18:30): I rise on behalf of the shadow Treasurer, the member for North Sydney, to speak on the Banking Amendment (Unclaimed Money) Bill 2013. The coalition will be supporting this legislation—necessary legislation to amend the government's own recently passed bill to clean-up yet another mess created by this chaotic government. The bill before the House now seeks to amend the government's own policy that was announced late last year—a policy motivated by this Treasurer's waxing desperation in the face of his then waning budget surplus. The government's evaporating surplus late last year sent it, as we all remember, into a feverish quest for savings, some of which were announced in MYEFO December 2012—actually it was earlier than December. This search for every dollar and cent it could find led it to announce an array of changes relating to unclaimed moneys in bank accounts, life insurance accounts,…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:55): It is a sad day in the parliament when you witness, as this House just has, such a rambling, incoherent speech—I was about to say 'contribution' but I corrected myself; that would be an exaggeration—from a chaotic Assistant Treasurer. I want to start by apologising to the Assistant Treasurer. Yesterday in the Federation Chamber, I accused the Assistant Treasurer of deliberately, coldly and in a calculated way, knowingly deceiving his electors, when he issued a newsletter this time last year declaring that the budget had been returned to surplus. Mr Ewen Jones: It already had. Mr TONY SMITH: On hearing the Assistant Treasurer's 15 minutes of rambling, I am starting to wonder whether he believed it or not; perhaps he had been told it and he did not know the difference. Perhaps I ascribed to him a motive that would have required competence, because what…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (17:25): I want to begin this contribution by asking some questions of the Assistant Treasurer with respect to finance. It goes to the heart of the government's transparency or lack thereof in the presentation of the budget. I would like to draw the Assistant Treasurer's attention to the persistence in the budget of the Treasurer himself and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation in defining savings not only as expenditure reductions, which everyone out in the Australian community understands, but also tax rises. This is something that has not been commented on a lot. I draw the Assistant Treasurer's attention to not just the budget papers but the press release issued in his name on budget night that talks about new savings a number of times on tax issues. The point is quite obvious. This is a deliberate deception conceived by this government. In fact, it…
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:47): As we begin on the Treasury portfolio I note, having watched the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness deal with his set of estimates in this place, that he took the questions for 45 minutes and did not seek to have the time taken up by any of his colleagues to come along and waste time. I certainly hope that the Assistant Treasurer will be following the practice of the minister for trade. As you know, Deputy Speaker, it has been a tradition in this place that these estimates take place so the opposition can ask questions of the minister. The Assistant Treasurer has allotted, I think, just 30 minutes of the one hour, and we sincerely hope that he is not going to seek to avoid scrutiny by having his own backbenchers waste half of that time and provide only 15 minutes. We would commend…
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