At 2pm tomorrow, Tony Abbott will rise to his feet in the House of Representatives for his first question time as Prime Minister. His task: to prove that this highly successful opposition attack dog can head up an effective and capable government. Facing him across the historic wooden dispatch box will be Bill Shorten, whose task is to transform the ALP from the divided party of recent years into a progressive and principled force.
There can only be one winner.
Shorten will be seeking to expose the Coalition government’s weak spots and errors from the get-go. So should he focus on “turning back the boats,” climate change or MPs rorting their expense accounts? Perhaps Abbott’s Achilles’ heel is the ever-widening budget deficit, or that mysterious $9 billion payment to the Reserve Bank? What about the Commission of Audit and the possibility it will recommend privatising Australia Post?
We threw this task open to our readers, asking you to submit your zingers for a Crikey fantasy question time. Here are the best. Let’s hope Shorten has a read before he jumps to his feet at 2pm tomorrow …
On the economy
“Mr Abbott, if a budget is a plan for how you raise revenue and how you spend it, has it not been Joe Hockey’s budget since the day you were elected? Why is Joe Hockey’s budget already predicted to be $15 billion worse than the one Labor took to the people at the election?” — Jon
“Mr Abbott, we have not seen the debt truck for some time. Where have you parked it?” — David Wilson
“My question is for Joe Hockey. Mr Hockey, where is the budget emergency hiding?” — Bryan
On climate change
“What form of evidence would the Prime Minister find sufficiently clear and compelling to convince him of the necessity to implement a workable, effective and affordable mechanism for reducing greenhouse gasses emissions?” — Michael Lew
“Could the Prime Minister please explain which scientific reports and publications played a significant role in his apparent conversion from climate change denier to believer?” — Craig Campbell
On boat arrivals
“In light of his policy to ‘stop the boats’, does the Prime Minister plan to alter the words to the Australian national anthem and, I quote, ‘For those who come across the sea, we’ve boundless plains to share’, to something that is more in keeping with his current policy?” — David Hardie
“Mr Abbott, have you stopped the boats yet, or just the reporting of them?” — “Mr Rabbit”
Other topics and general rabble-rousing
“Since the Coalition government is so concerned with Australian freedoms, and is actively taking an interest in the legality of the laws of some territories or states, can the Prime Minister please advise when it will be taking legal action against those states that have introduced laws curtailing the rights of some citizens to associate and hold meetings, as this clearly impinges on their freedom of association?” — “WA-side”
“Would the Prime Minister please inform the House what brand of gag is being used so effectively on his ministers, and where he bought them?” — Justin
“If the school kids’ bonus is axed, then parents/carers will go back to recording school expenses as tax deductions, which means higher earners will receive more back from the Tax Department than lower-income-earners. How is that fair? And will axing the school kids’ bonus save any money at all?” — Jeanie
“Why is there no original thought in the Liberal Party?” — Mike Presland
“Mr Abbott, in defending the decision not to tax superannuants whose super earns $100,000 in a year, you said that the Coalition believed in supporting aspirational people. At what income or superannuation savings level does a person become ‘aspirational’ in order to get tax benefits from a Coalition government, and how would you describe those people on incomes of $37,000 or less whose super benefits are being cut? Supplementary question: why does the Coalition think that those on lower incomes are less deserving of tax breaks on their super than the wealthy?” — Jenny
Given that the prime minister seems to frequently favour seeking forgiveness over permission, has the PM been to confession since his appointment? Supplementary question: how many policy acts are required forgiveness?” — “The Cardinal”
*Think you can do better? Leave a comment. We’ll let you know if any of these are asked on Wednesday; tune in if you want to see for yourself.