|About this Item||Subjects||Finance: New South Wales; Infrastructure; Economy; Opposition Policy: New South Wales
||Speakers||Speaker; Debnam Mr Peter; Iemma Mr Morris
||Business||Questions Without Notice
Mr PETER DEBNAM: My question is directed to the Premier. Given that he has wasted this week manufacturing filth while more than half the respondents to his own survey said he has done nothing to fix the State and have asked him to try doing what he was elected to do, when will he finally address the issues of concern to New South Wales families?
Mr MORRIS IEMMA: It appears that this question was written by the staff who did not receive the 4 per cent rise. The Leader of the Opposition looked after his top-end staff, but it looks as though the staff who did not receive the 4 per cent pay increase have been working to rule.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Murray-Darling to order.
Mr MORRIS IEMMA: This is a bad question. In relation to the State Plan, I might ask: Where is the Leader of the Opposition's plan? Where is his vision? He has been the Leader of the Opposition for nearly 12 months. In 12 months, what have we heard from him? We have had a grab bag of policies that do not add up to any plan or vision for the State other than, on day one, bankrupting the State with $20 billion in unfunded commitments and sacking 29,000 teachers, nurses and police officers—all from a person who believes that reckless rhetoric equals leadership, all from a person who believes that a lack of courage, power and authority equals leadership.
This is a man who spent nearly 12 months rolling over to everyone who knocked on his door for a spending increase or taxation cut. This is a man who spent 12 months allowing the extremists in his political party not just to win a couple of preselection battles but to take over his party. This is a man who allows himself to be pushed around. In relation to the preselection battle in Epping, he spent a lot of time very carefully not declaring a position until the battle was over. One would not want him in the trenches during a war or a fight because not only would he be missing but he would be the type of guy who would race up after the war was over and say, "I was on your side. We won!"
Despite that being the type of leadership the Leader of the Opposition has provided over the past of months, he has asked such a question. Such is the character of his leadership that he forced out the honourable member for Southern Highlands in an electorate in which the extremists are yet not operating, even though they have been trying to establish a foothold, all because he did not have the courage, power or authority to tell the extremists in Epping, "I want Pru Goward."
Do honourable members know why? It is because the Leader of the Opposition is not only lacking in the qualities I have mentioned but also was reluctant to take a position on the preselection until he knew that the battle was over and who had won. It was only when the decision had been made that he put his arms around Mr Smith and embraced him. Does that not sound familiar? Is it not typical of so many of his policy positions? The Leader of the Opposition does not want to take a position on industrial relations.
Mr Andrew Stoner: What about the hospitals? What about the roads?
Mr MORRIS IEMMA: I am glad the Leader of The Nationals has asked me about hospitals, because when it comes to a lack of character and courage, the Leader of the Opposition demonstrates the type of approach he would adopt if he were the Premier—a "yes man" approach. He has neither the authority, the courage nor the power to stand up for New South Wales or to say to the Prime Minister, "No, you will not take our industrial relations system." He would say, "Yes, Prime Minister, here it is." This is a man who would say, "Yes, Prime Minister, you can privatise our hospitals; your Health Minister can." This is a man who would say, "Yes, Prime Minister, keep defrauding the people of New South Wales of their $3 billion in GST revenue." This is a man who would say, "Yes, Prime Minister, not only can you have all those workers whom we cannot protect with legislation, but also we will amend our own legislation—the Labor Party legislation—and you can have our nurses, our teachers and ambulance officers as well." On so many fronts, the Leader of the Opposition adopts that type of approach.
In relation to families who are under pressure, would he stand up for them? He would not stand up for families in relation to interest rates. He would say, "Yes, Prime Minister, give all those hardworking families another interest rate rise." This is a man who would say to the Prime Minister, "Yes, Prime Minister, keep saying that there is nothing you can do about petrol prices, interest rates, the GST, industrial relations, workers' pay packets, their hard-fought-for working conditions, and our hospitals." On all those issues the Leader of the Opposition would say, "Yes, here they are. Have your way, Prime Minister." The Leader of the Opposition would never stand up for the people of New South Wales—just as he has been incapable of standing up to the extremists who are now firmly in control of his own party.
Mr PETER DEBNAM: I ask a supplementary question. Given that the Premier wants to talk about his plan for a plan and that he is spending millions of dollars of taxpayers' funds on market research to develop his campaign plan, will he provide the taxpayers of New South Wales with the detail that came out of that market research?
Mr MORRIS IEMMA: Like the four-year $1 billion plan on mental health services, the $1 billion plan on disability services, the Metropolitan Water Plan, the 10-year infrastructure plan and the budget papers, the State Plan will be available later this year as the latest step to keep working away and making progress for the people of New South Wales.
Mr Peter Debnam: Point of order: Under Standing Order 139 the Premier is not supposed to debate the issue. The question was very straightforward. The Government has spent taxpayers' dollars—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Premier was precisely answering the question. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Premier has answered the question. I call the honourable member for Tamworth.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member for Tamworth has the call. I call the honourable member for Gosford to order for the third time. I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to order for the second time.
Mr Barry O'Farrell: I move that the honourable member for Newcastle be heard.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! That interjection came from the member who purports to know something about the standing orders of this Chamber. The honourable member for Tamworth has the call.