It’s Question Time, Not Answer Time. Five Best And Worst Moments In Parliament This Week

Sometimes you get a week in Parliament where you’re left shaking your head in disbelief. This parliamentary week started with the Prime Minister trying to defend cutting payments for the children of war veterans (I’m not exaggerating), and ended with the Prime Minister flatly refusing to answer questions about the circumstances surrounding Senator Sinodinos’ resignation. For two days Bill Shorten asked the PM what he knew and when he knew it. A lot happened in between – here’s a taste:

1. Labor’s new Parliamentary Secretary for Western Australia Alannah MacTiernan asked Tony Abbott if he would release 900 pages of cuts in his Commission of Audit report before the WA senate by-election. His short answer, no.

2. The “I Give a Gonski” team brought their travelling roadshow to Parliament House and called on Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne to keep their promise that no school would be worse off under a Liberal Government.

The Coalition have broken their promise to match Labor’s funding on schools. I’m not holding my breath waiting for a backflip, but Labor will keep fighting.

3. Hundreds of scientists and academics descended on Canberra for the annual Science Meets Parliament. Bill Shorten reaffirmed Labor’s commitment to a strong and prosperous science sector.

4. On Thursday Bill Shorten and Tony Abbott began Question Time by acknowledging the one year anniversary of the National Apology for Forced Adoptions. This is a dark chapter in our nation’s history – it’s right that we all pause each year to reflect.

You can view the full document here.

5. Finally, I took the opportunity to use my first point of order on Monday to wish the Speaker a happy St Patrick’s day. She didn’t seem too impressed, and as the week went on I really don’t think it helped me.



1. Labor moved a motion in the House against Tony Abbott on Thursday after he kept refusing to answer questions about the resignation of Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos.

Photo by Alex Ellinghausen @ellinghausen.

Photo by Alex Ellinghausen @ellinghausen.

I was kicked out of the House after refusing to withdraw my statement that Tony Abbott had mislead the Parliament. Why didn’t I withdraw? Because Tony Abbott did mislead the Parliament.

2. The Government continued to hide the cuts in their Commission of Audit report this week, expecting Western Australians to go to the April election without knowing what cuts the Government has in store for them.


It just shows how little respect they have for the voters of WA. All Australians deserve to know what cuts are coming – the PM can’t hide them forever.

3. Bill Shorten slammed the Government for using their so called “repeal day” legislation as a smokescreen to scrap the consumer protection laws that safeguard Australians’ retirement savings.


During the GFC, thousands of investors lost their life savings because of dodgy financial practices. If the Government gets its way, this could happen all over again.

4. So we should all be able to walk down the street with a handgun and a pony?

It became clear during Tony Abbott’s speech on “repeal day” that a lot of the regulations set to go are, really, really old – not quite ancient but getting close. Some of them haven’t affected anybody for decades. Labor MP Nick Champion nailed it when he interjected: “So we should all be able to walk down the street with a handgun and a pony?” Instead, you guessed it: he was kicked out for an hour.

5. At number five, Joe Hockey struts and frets his hour upon the stage.

Finally, after Tony Abbott had been under fire for failing to answer anything we asked on Thursday, Speaker Bronwyn Bishop gave a ruling, which I reckon will never amount to a broken promise. You be the judge.

Tony Burke