Opposition Leader Tony Abbott leaves question time. Photo: Andrew MearesOpposition Leader Tony Abbott has been thrown out of Parliament during question time by acting Speaker Anna Burke for refusing to withdraw unparliamentary remarks.
Mr Abbott was interjecting across the dispatch box as Prime Minister Julia Gillard answered a question on the carbon tax when he was ordered to withdraw his comments ”without qualification”.
”I withdraw but it’s still an untrue statement,” Mr Abbott replied.
Ms Burke then told Mr Abbott to leave the chamber.
”I asked you, as you approached the dispatch box, to do it without qualification – you could not help yourself,” she said.
Mr Abbott was ordered to leave the house for an hour. He is the sixth opposition leader to be ordered from the chamber in Australian parliamentary history.
The last time an opposition leader was ejected from the House of Representatives was in 1986 when then Liberal leader John Howard was thrown out for 24 hours by Labor Deputy Speaker Leo McLeay for ”disregarding the authority of the Speaker”.
Leader of the Nationals Warren Truss – who was thrown out by Speaker Peter Slipper in February, sparking a mass walkout of Nationals MPs – tweeted after question time: ”Tony Abbott becomes 3rd Opposition Leader in history to be thrown out of Parliament. The other two were Menzies and Howard. Good Omen!”
Shortly after Mr Abbott’s ejection, Ms Gillard ended question time.
The manager of opposition business, frontbencher Christopher Pyne, and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey were also earlier ordered to leave the chamber for one hour during an unruly question time.
After he left the chamber, Mr Abbott issued a statement accusing Ms Gillard of misrepresenting his stance on education funding.
”The Prime Minister alleged that I told the Independent Schools Council of Australia that a Coalition government would cut the funding of government schools,” he said.
”This is not true. It is just another lie from Julia Gillard.”
Despite delaying the government’s official response to the Gonski report, Ms Gillard pledged today that every independent school in Australia would have its funding increase, no matter how wealthy it was.
In response, Mr Abbott said he was deeply sceptical the additional funding recommended by the Gonski review was doable at this time, given the fiscal demands faced by the federal and state governments, including border protection and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
”The idea another $5 billion a year might be forthcoming for Gonski … the idea this kind of money is lying around waiting to be spent defies common sense,” Mr Abbott said.
Ms Gillard used Mr Abbott’s remarks during question time to raise doubts over the Coalition’s commitment to education funding, sparking Mr Abbott’s ire.
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