Sunday, 17 May 2015

Who is not telling the truth in these Question Time exchanges?

Excerpts from the Australian House of Representatives Hansard, 13 May 2015:

Ms MACKLIN (Jagajaga) (14:34): My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister agree with the Minister for Social Services that mums who get more than 18 weeks paid leave at home with their new babies are 'rorters'? Or does he agree with his Treasurer, who believes they are committing fraud?
Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:35): The premise of the question is simply false. I have seen too many members of the Labor Party verbal members of the coalition to accept that.
Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:41): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that Woolworths workers have negotiated an extra eight weeks parental leave? Why does the Prime Minister want to take this extra bonding time away from mothers and their babies? Does he agree with his ministers—
Government members interjecting
The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my right!
Ms PLIBERSEK: that these mothers are rorters and fraudsters?
Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:42): Members opposite should stop telling lies about ministers in this government. They really should stop telling lies about ministers in this government.
The SPEAKER: I would remind the Prime Minister that the term 'lies' is unparliamentary and I would ask him to withdraw.
Mr ABBOTT: I was not accusing any particular member opposite of telling lies. But, Madam Speaker, to assist you, of course, I will withdraw. The claims that have been made by members opposite about statements by ministers in this government are simply false. The assertion that was made by the minister who asked the question again is simply false
Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:50): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that the Victorian nurses have negotiated, in return for forgone wages, an additional 10 weeks of parental leave on top of the minimum paid parental leave? In the light of that, why are the Prime Minister and his ministers describing nurses, and indeed Woolies workers and 80,000 other new mums, as rorters?
Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:51): I say again that members opposite should tell the truth. They should tell the truth. They should not tell lies, Madam Speaker. They should not do that. A moment ago, we just heard the phraseology of the Leader of the Opposition. We heard the phraseology from the member for Sydney. We heard the phraseology in particular of the member for Jagajaga. The member for Jagajaga said that the Treasurer was calling people taking paid parental leave from their employer and from the government fraudsters. That is what she said. This is dead wrong. I have the transcript. I defy the member for Sydney or any other member opposite to point to any time where the Treasurer used that word 'fraud'. You know who used the word 'fraud'? It was Laurie Oakes. That is who used the word 'fraud'. He said, This is basically fraud, isn't it?' And the Treasurer made it very clear that he supports people on paid parental leave.
Journalist Katherine Murphy writing in The Guardian on 14 May 2015:

From Scott Morrison’s official transcript – Sky News, 11 May:
Q: Sometimes employers don’t give generous programs. I know of a lawyer in Canberra she gets six weeks, how is that generous?

Scott Morrison:
Well she will get the balance through the paid parental leave scheme which is provided by the taxpayer. She will get the same thing as someone working for the bakery and that’s the important thing here we are getting rid of what is an inequity and frankly in many cases I think is a rort.

Treasurer Joe Hockey being interviewed by Laurie Oakes on 11 May 2015:

But this is basically fraud, isn't it, taking an allowance twice effectively? Who is doing it?

Well, it is, in many cases it’s mostly people who go on parental leave that earn more than $90,000 a year. But there are people at various levels who have been claiming parental leave payments from taxpayers, as well as from their employers. Given that our own paid parental leave scheme is not proceeding, we want to make sure that the system is fairer and that’s exactly what we are doing. [my red bolding]

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