Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker, left, beside the cut-out of Kevin Rudd. Photo: ANDREW TAYLOR, Sydney Morning Herald.
Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker, left, beside the cut-out of Kevin Rudd. Photo: ANDREW TAYLOR, Sydney Morning Herald.

Kicked out of Parliament!

COWPER MP Luke Hartsuyker was dramatically kicked out Parliament yesterday after he complained the new Labor government was showing contempt for Coffs Coast residents.

Mr Hartsuyker was ejected from the House of Representatives during a debate over the loss of 126 jobs at the Coffs Harbour Centrelink Call Centre.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives removed him from the chamber after Mr Hartsuyker claimed Kevin Rudd was a part-time Prime Minister because he didn't show up for the new Friday sitting of the Parliament.

When Federal Parliament resumed this year Mr Rudd changed the Standing Orders of the Parliament, requiring the Parliament to sit on Fridays.

"The Parliament is being convened at a cost to the taxpayer of one million dollars per day without the requirement that the Prime Minister or other Ministers be in attendance and without a Question Time," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"The people of Australia are being denied the opportunity to have the Government questioned on such important issues as climate change, health and education as well as important local issues."

At the same time that Mr Hartsuyker was highlighting the absence of the Prime Minister from the Parliament, a life-size cardboard cut-out of the Prime Minister appeared at the dispatch box where Mr Hartsuyker was speaking.

After holding the life-size cut-out, Mr Hartsuyker was ejected from the House and the sitting suspended.

Mr Hartsuyker said the Rudd Government had shown contempt for the residents of Cowper.

"Kevin Rudd is now a part-time Prime Minister who is happy for the Parliament to sit for five days but does not believe the Government needs to be present on Fridays. People deserve better than Cardboard Kevin.

"In his first 100 days as Prime Minister, his actions have reflected an arrogance towards the institution and proceedings of the Parliament.

"It is important that Governments listen to the issues which Members raise.

"The Rudd Government's decision not to proceed with the expansion of the Coffs Harbour Call Centre will severely impact on the residents of Cowper.

"It will cost our region 126 jobs. It will cost our region more than six million dollars in wages each year.

"This is obviously something that the Government doesn't care about. When he was elected to office Mr Rudd said he would govern for all Australians but by culling the call centre jobs he has shown he doesn't care about regional Australia."



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