CONSIDERATION OF MOTIONS TO BE ACCORDED PRIORITY
Mr RAY WILLIAMS
(Hawkesbury—Parliamentary Secretary) [3.12 p.m.]: My motion should be accorded priority because the people of New South Wales need to know that the member for Heffron, the former Premier of New South Wales, has made a U-turn on the road to Damascus and is now supporting the O'Farrell Government in opposing the carbon tax. My motion states:
That this House:
(1) notes that last year the member for Heffron said the Federal carbon tax was "the most efficient thing for our economy and … the most efficient thing we can do for our environment";
(2) notes that the member for Heffron has called on the Prime Minister to revoke the carbon tax; and
(3) supports the member for Heffron's latest stance on the carbon tax.
The member for Heffron, who is not in the Chamber, has obviously seen the light. I do not know whether she has seen the holy light, as suggested by the Minister for Resources and Energy, or the sunlight. I feel it may have been the light over the top of her makeup cabinet, which comes from coal-powered electricity, as she was applying her lippy and blush before her appearance on Sky television last night. The member for Heffron has done a bit of a backflip. When she appeared a year ago on Channel 10 with Barry O'Farrell she supported the carbon tax. She has now indicated her support for the people of this great country and she will oppose the carbon tax about to be imposed by the Gillard Government. This motion should be accorded priority because the people of New South Wales need to know that the member for Heffron has now seen the light. She is now on the side of the O'Farrell Government in opposing the most regressive tax ever to have been implemented in this country, and a tax that will impose much hardship. I ask members to lend me their support this afternoon because the people of New South Wales need to know that the member for Heffron is on our side.
Mr JOHN ROBERTSON
(Blacktown—Leader of the Opposition) [3.15 p.m.]: My motion states:
That this House:
(1) notes the Reserve Bank's decision to cut its official cash rate by 50 basis points;
(2) calls on the banks to pass on the full extent of the rate cut to struggling home-owners; and
(3) calls on the Government to take action to address the housing affordability crisis in New South Wales.
Unlike the flippant motion of the member for Hawkesbury, this motion deserves priority because yesterday the Reserve Bank gave New South Wales households some much-needed relief. The cut in official interest rates by 50 basis points to 3.75 per cent should be welcomed by every member in this Chamber and by every struggling household and business in New South Wales. It is much-needed relief for those whose budgets are being hit by an 18 per cent increase in electricity prices. That was given to them by Premier Barry O'Farrell in July last year, with more to come this year. Courtesy of the O'Farrell Government, the people of New South Wales have also had a 5.4 per cent increase in public transport fares.
Yesterday's decision will put a little extra money into people's pockets which is good news for consumers, retailers and the economy. Today we should be saying to the banks in no uncertain terms that this is their moment of truth. The Reserve Bank has cut rates to help home owners and the other banks should do the same. We are facing a housing affordability crisis in this State. My motion deserves to be accorded priority because since the O'Farrell Government has been in office housing construction starts have dropped by 13 per cent. The planning process is also in a holding pattern because we have to wait 18 months for the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure to get his act together and resolve this problem. In the meantime we are seeing Brad "Haphazard" in the dealer room—
Mr Brad Hazzard:
Mr JOHN ROBERTSON:
That is not what the developers are saying—they are calling him "Haphazard". He is having secret meetings with developers about releasing land they would like to see released.
Order! Government members will come to order.
Mr JOHN ROBERTSON:
This is a serious matter. Importantly, interest rate cuts should be passed on in full. The housing affordability crisis in this State must be addressed but nothing is being done to counter the impact it is having particularly on those living in certain areas of Sydney and in regional New South Wales. This motion should be accorded priority because the O'Farrell Government should be explaining how it intends to deal with the housing affordability crisis in this State.
Question—That the motion of the member for Hawkesbury be accorded priority—put.
The House divided.
Mr R. C. Williams
Mr J. D. Williams
Question resolved in the affirmative.