Federal Politics

Politics live: February 6, 2013

Now Pulsers, we'll say goodnight with the evening summary.

Today in federal politics:

  1. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, delivered her annual closing the gap statement.
  2. Opposition leader Tony Abbott responded. Parliament enjoyed an elevated discussion about indigenous disadvantage with much unanimity and very little finger pointing. It was terrific.
  3. Former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke called in for a visit and, predictably, stole the show.
  4. Two Labor ministers - Stephen Conroy and Tony Burke - faced questions about trips to a ski lodge owned by the Obeid family.
  5. Former Labor MP Craig Thomson's court case began in Melbourne.
  6. Question Time was again focussed primarily on the economy. Surplus and tax for the Coalition. Jobs and growth for Labor.


It's been great fun. Thanks for staying with us. We'll see you again tomorrow!

Andrew Meares dinkus 30 January 2013

Photos without Notice.

Julia Gillard watching Wayne Swan deliver a surplus of jobs and growth.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan Photo: Andrew Meares
Andrew Meares dinkus 30 January 2013

Handing over now to Andrew Meares for Photos without Notice.

Kevin Rudd and Joel Fitzgibbon. Chewing the fat.

Kevin Rudd and Joel Fitzgibbon
Kevin Rudd and Joel Fitzgibbon Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

So what of Question Time today?

Pretty straightforward wasn't it?

The Coalition wants the discussion on the economy.

Labor does too, for different reasons.

The Coalition wants you remembering the days of John Howard and surpluses and all that feel good. Tony Abbott can bring all that back is the conclusion the Opposition would like you to draw.

Labor wants you to walk back to the global financial crisis and then walk to the present with them. (We have debt because we needed stimulus. We put jobs before black ink in the write column in the Budget papers.) That's the message they want voters to hear. We care about you more than we care about a paper surplus.

It's the economy, stupid.

Welcome to the next several months.

Here is the pamphlet from Mr Swan that Mr Hockey referred to. (See the post at 2.21pm for details.)

What surplus. Take two.
What surplus. Take two. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Took us a couple of minutes to get this organised, sorry. We wanted to give you a couple of visuals of the pamphlets the Opposition were highlighting in Question Time today.

Here's the one Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer referred to.

What surplus?
What surplus? Photo: Andrew Meares

Will no-one think of the children?

The Prime Minister has a new social media avatar.

Unleash the meta.

Alex Ellinghausen
Eddie who? By Stephen Conroy.
Eddie who? By Stephen Conroy. 

Just a note from the red place.

During Question Time, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was asked about Eddie and the ski-lodge.

His response for the record?

"I am such a close friend of Mr Eddie Obeid that he couldn't even remember my name yesterday. I am so close to Mr Obeid that he actually got my name wrong, he actually named someone else."

(Mr Obeid thought he had invited another Victorian, Bill Shorten. Senator Conroy said he was invited to Chez Obeid by Tony Burke. Picture by Alex Ellinghausen.)

Peta Credlin, Chief of Staff to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, during Question Time.
Peta Credlin, Chief of Staff to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, during Question Time. 

Not sure whether this is a reflection on the performance of the boss in Question Time today - surely not - but Peta Credlin looks less than impressed doesn't she?

Ms Credlin is chief of staff to Opposition leader Tony Abbott.

She's been known to particpate actively in the Question Time to-and-fro.

Alex Ellinghausen puts you on the spot.


Minister Jason Clare is currently introducing the Anti-Dumping Commission.

The government is doubling the number of anti-dumping investigators. Procedures will be more transparent. Thou shalt not dump.

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Sharp prediction.

Former Speaker Peter Slipper with former PM Bob Hawke.
Former Speaker Peter Slipper with former PM Bob Hawke. Photo: Andrew Meares

The Member for Wentworth has the call.

Malcolm Turnbull has a question about the national broadband network to Prime Minister Gillard. Do you stand by the government's claim that wholesale prices will come down?

Ms Gillard begins to respond.

But Mr Turnbull has a point of order. Could the Prime Minister answer my simple question about retail pricing?

(Wasn't it wholesale pricing Malcolm?)

Perhaps I misheard ..


Speak up Wayne.

Jill Saunders: What was that Wayne? Jobs and growth?
Jill Saunders: What was that Wayne? Jobs and growth? Photo: Andrew Meares

Victorian Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer has a prop.

And a question. Given the surplus has vanished, can the Treasurer tell us what the deficit will be?

Mr Swan.

"When the facts change, so do the actions of responsible governments. We will always take the balanced decision to support jobs and growth."

Keep it down Hawkie!
Keep it down Hawkie! Photo: Andrew Meares

"In our bones, in our DNA, is jobs and growth," declares the Treasurer Wayne Swan, with a swipe to the "cranks and crazies of the Tea Party" now running the once great Australian Liberal Party.

Shadow finance spokesman Andrew Robb is unmoved. He wants to know why Chile has a surplus and Australia does not.

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Victorian Liberal Tony Smith is trying to table more pamphlets from Labor folks referring to a surplus that wasn't actually delivered.

No, no, no, no, no, no and no, says Mr Albanese.

Former prime minister to former prime minister.


Former prime minister Kevin Rudd greets former prime minister Bob Hawke with his personal assistant Jill Saunders at ...
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd greets former prime minister Bob Hawke with his personal assistant Jill Saunders at Parliament House. Photo: Andrew Meares

Tasmanian Independent Andrew Wilkie is worried about the super trawler. Environment Minister Tony Burke gets a question.

Mr Burke says he has written to the operators of the super trawler and reserves his right to make new declarations if something fishy is going on.

(Sorry, I know it's serious. Couldn't help it. Pulsers will remember the issue of the supertrawler depleting Australian fishing stocks blew up as a political furore last year.)

Mr Hockey would like to table the document.

Manager of government business Anthony Albanese would like Mr Hockey not to table the document.

Mr Hockey now to Treasurer Wayne Swan. Mr Hockey says he has a pamphlet distributed in Mr Swan's Queensland electorate welcoming the delivery of a surplus. (The surplus didn't happen, obviously.) Will you apologise to your constituents for lying?

The latter part of the question is ruled out of order.

Mr Swan:

"This government makes absolutely no apology for putting Australian jobs and Australian growth first."

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