Member for Isaacs

Parliament House Doorstop 5 February 2013

05 February 2013

TOPICS: Facts about the caretaker convention; Opposition’s plan to cut CEFC and investment in renewable energy, jobs and industry

Minister for Emergency Management


TOPICS: Facts about the caretaker convention; Opposition’s plan to cut CEFC and investment in renewable energy, jobs and industry

MARK DREYFUS: We have seen Senator Brandis and Ms Bishop embarrass themselves today. The caretaker period has not begun. It does not begin until the House is dissolved. It's here in black and white (Attorney General holds up document); it says very clearly the caretaker period begins at a time the House of
Representatives is dissolved. That's a very long-standing convention, it's been available - it's publicly available. It's on the website of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. And I can say that the House has not been dissolved. The Parliament is sitting today. It's the first day of sittings for 2013. The bells are ringing and question time is about to begin. I'm here today to represent my constituents as are every one of my fellow Labor colleagues. Perhaps Julie Bishop is planning on not being here to represent her constituents. Perhaps she's planning on politicking in some other part of the country. But we'll be here getting on with the business of Parliament. We'll be here getting on with the business of Government.

QUESTION: Making an issue out of this aren't you just trying to distract from the internal woes of the Government at the moment?

MARK DREYFUS: Not at all. What you're seeing here from Senator Brandis and Julie Bishop is just another attempt to disregard long-standing Parliamentary conventions and an attempt to disregard long standing Parliamentary practice. What they're doing is what they've been doing every day since September 2010, which is to disrupt the Government of our country. Why should a Government stop - why should a Government stop just because Julie Bishop says so?

QUESTION: George Brandis has said that we have effectively have two alternative Prime Ministers now what do you make of that comment?

MARK DREYFUS: George Brandis has shown again why he's unfit to be a minister and I don't think that Tony Abbott is even close to an alternative Prime Minister. This is an attempt to disrupt the Government of our country. It's an attempt to cause chaos. It's exactly the same thing, it's the same strategy that we've been seeing from the Liberal Party since September 2010 and I'd expect regrettably that we'll see more of it going right through to the end of this year.

QUESTION: Does the Broadcasting Services Act require both major parties to get equal airtime once the election's been called?

MARK DREYFUS: That's another example of the Liberal Party making it up as they go along. The Broadcasting Services Act is absolutely clear that until the election campaign begins - and we know when that's going to be - when the Governor-General dissolves the Parliament the election campaign will begin. That's with the
issue of the writs - that's not until 12 August.

QUESTION: Do you think there needs to be a crack-down on betting on elections given that Sportsbet had to shut down betting on the election date last week?

MARK DREYFUS: I'll leave that for others to comment on.

QUESTION: What about…

QUESTION: But is that concerning?

MARK DREYFUS: No I'll leave that for others to comment on.

QUESTION: But you must have a view about that?

MARK DREYFUS: I'll leave that for others to comment on.

QUESTION: What about the point that's being made by the Shadow Environment Minister Hunt that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation shouldn't give any loans from July the first because it's very close to an election and the Coalition will close that Fund down?

MARK DREYFUS: Thanks for the question, Paul, that's exactly the same kind of strategy - the kind of wrecking strategy, the kind of negativity that we have come to expect from this Coalition Opposition. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation was legislated last year. It's going to provide billions of dollars of investment in renewable energy and jobs, to move the Australian economy towards a clean energy future. And it's another ridiculous suggestion from the Opposition that just because they say so, the Government of our country should come to a stop.

I'm very much looking forward to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation commencing its operations on the first of July. It's a model that's been much praised around the world as a way to put the carbon price revenue into action, putting it back into industry, back into clean energy investment, back into renewables and improving Australians’ job prospects, improving Australian industry and I'm very much looking forward to its starting operation.

QUESTION: Do you think the Opposition are increasing uncertainty by making comments and saying that the caretaker period could already start?

MARK DREYFUS: No, I think the Opposition are increasing their own hysteria now that the Prime Minister has provided certainty in the election day, certainty to the business community, certainty to public servants and governments around Australia and to the whole community, so that everybody can plan their year. The Opposition have been deprived of a bit of politicking that they'd probably hoped to do, which was to call hysterically for the election to be called early or something like that. As I say we've had the same strategy from this Opposition every day since September 2010 and regrettably they're proving again today - they've embarrassed themselves again to day - but they're proving again today that they're planning on going on with that strategy right through to the election.

QUESTION: Attorney General just going back to that answer on the Clean Energy Fund - there would be nothing to stop an incoming Government at its first budget closing that fund down. Unlike the carbon tax they wouldn't have to repeal anything in Parliament would they?

MARK DREYFUS: Governments - new governments - are free to legislate in accordance with the policies that they think are best for Australia.

Thanks very much.