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Rudd Government Faces First Question Time

The Rudd Government has faced its first Question Time in the new Parliament.

The Opposition Leader’s first question was about petrol and food prices. It required a Dorothy Dixer from the government’s backbench for the stolen generations apology to be raised.

Julia Gillard delivered the most assured and polished performance, emphasising the government’s mandate on industrial relations when asked about the legislation introduced today to dismantle the Howard government’s WorkChoices.

Anthony Albanese, the Minister for Infrastructure (and many other things, as the Speaker pointed out!) seemed to relish his new position to lash the Opposition.

Peter Garrett, the Environment Minister, also spoke confidently on the issue of Japanese whaling.

The Opposition directed a number of questions at the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, about inflation and economic management. Swan appeared confident but his delivery was somewhat diffident, reminding me of his nervousness at his National Press Club debate with Peter Costello during the election campaign.

The new Speaker, Harry Jenkins, was obviously attempting to impose his style on the House. He suspended Wilson Tuckey for an hour, following repeated points of order from the Western Australian Liberal who walked out of the chamber during Rudd’s stolen generations apology speech this morning.

Now that he has been blooded, Jenkins will need to develop a brisker style of management of the House.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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