Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Matter of Public Importance: Budget - 18 June 2015

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:01): I was about to say—

Mr Champion interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: It sounds like the member opposite has not finished his contribution.

Mr Champion interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Whiteley ): Order!

Mr TONY SMITH: I know the member opposite gets very excited. I was about to say to the member opposite that, in debating terms, it is always good to follow him, but then I realised that it is so rare that he is here after question time on a Thursday. But it is very interesting that the conduct of this debate has once again displayed the hypocrisy of those opposite. It is very interesting who is here and who is not, and I will tell you why. We have obviously seen this week what those opposite really think of each other, courtesy of the ABC.

Mr Champion interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: We have the member opposite with uncontrollable interjections. We cannot understand him over here when he speaks that fast. He needs a translator. Work that out with the member behind you.

It is very interesting who is here and who is not. We had the Assistant Treasurer here, but I just thought, as the Assistant Treasurer was speaking, that there was no-one from Labor's economic team. There was no shadow Treasurer. He might be busy.

Mr Champion: We had our leader!

Mr TONY SMITH: No, just listen and you will learn something. There was no shadow finance minister and no shadow assistant minister. Now, it takes a bit to keep the shadow Assistant Treasurer away; I will say that. It takes a bit, so there must be a reason. I will tell you what the reason is.

The reason was revealed by David Crowe earlier this week in a very prescient article under the headline 'Labor doubts grow over Shorten's strategy'. It addressed the very subject of this MPI. It addressed the very substance of the MPI. The first paragraph and a few other selected quotes are worth reading to the House.

Mr Perrett interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Settle down. Settle down.

Mr TONY SMITH: I quote:

Bill Shorten has sparked doubts within the Labor caucus over his decision to vote against a $2.4 billion pension reform as Tony Abbott accuses him of looking after the wealthy rather than ordinary workers.

If you go further down the article, it is very interesting:

Labor caucus members said—

Ms Chesters interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: You will get a chance to talk in a second. I will give you an opportunity because I am a fair guy. I am well known for that in this place. It said:

Labor caucus members said the issue could easily turn against Mr Shorten …

Back earlier in the article it was quite interesting about the shadow finance minister, who is not here:

With the legislation now sure of Senate approval, opposition finance spokesman Tony Burke would not say whether a Labor government would restore the rules — the key test of Labor's objections to the changes.

Labor appears set to accept the changes at the next election rather than pledge to overturn them …

That is something that a very experienced journalist says.

They have gone quiet now. Can you answer the question? It is very interesting, on their matter of public interest. Can you answer the question: at the next election, will you pledge to overturn this legislation?

A government member: Simple!

Mr TONY SMITH: Sh! Sh! I will address it—

Mr Champion: The answer is: we're on about 55 per cent in your seat!

Mr TONY SMITH: Very interesting—no commitment from those opposite. There is no commitment from those opposite to overturn the changes. In other words, this is confected outrage.

The shadow Treasurer buckled on some tax legislation, just over the weekend. His reason for buckling on that tax legislation was, he said, the necessity to contribute to the fiscal task. We have no doubt that the shadow Treasurer and the shadow finance minister do not support what these members on this MPI are doing. They do not support the Leader of the Opposition's strategy. And the previous speaker—well, no deficit was big enough for him! No deficit was big enough for him.

Mr Champion interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: As he continues his uncontrollable interjections, let me just, in the final 30 seconds, deal with some of the hypocrisy we have heard about their love for working families. Aren't we seeing the love for working families in some of the allegations before the royal commission? Aren't we? Do you endorse those agreements? Do you endorse those agreements?

Mr Champion interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: No, I am not coming to South Australia. Just answer the question: do you endorse—


Mr TONY SMITH: Very interesting.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I would ask the honourable member to direct his questions through the chair. And, while I am at it, I would also remind the member for Bendigo that she is on a warning. It might be a carryover one, but it is real.

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