House debates

Monday, 31 May 2010

Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010; Paid Parental Leave (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010

Second Reading

7:06 pm

Photo of Damian HaleDamian Hale (Solomon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, his ironclad guarantees. No-one believes him on that. That is the first thing that could happen—scrap it, put it on the backburner. The second thing that could happen is that he may implement the 1.7 per cent tax on small- to medium-sized businesses—but I doubt it. The third thing he might do is, if he does do the 1.7 per cent, he will bring back Work Choices. And that will be his payback to big business. He will say: ‘Look, suffer for a while. Just take it easy. I am going to get rid of their penalty rates. If a woman happens to fall pregnant, we will bring in a clause along the lines of unfair dismissal, and you can get rid of her for operational reasons—because she can no longer contribute.’

This Leader of the Opposition is probably the worst Leader of the Opposition out of the three. The other two had some integrity, but not this bloke. He will do anything and he will say anything; he freely admits that himself. He did it a couple of weeks ago with Kerry O’Brien. Everyone knows. If it is written down and he is reading it, you know it is pretty well close to the truth. But, if he is talking off the cuff—and he prides himself on that; he always tells the Prime Minister off for reading notes—there is a good chance he will throw in a few lies here and there, throw in a few little curve balls. But that’s Tony. That is the way this Leader of the Opposition operates.

Does anyone honestly believe that this Leader of the Opposition is committed to a paid parental leave scheme? You are kidding. He is not committed to it. He was never committed to it in government. He has given himself so many little outs—you can see that in his speech in the second reading debate. This Leader of the Opposition loves to put little curve balls, little deceptions and all the rest of the stuff into his speeches. And he loves to talk to the media the same way.

In his speech in the second reading debate, Mr Abbott said:

As I said, the government’s measure is a small step in the right direction. I believe we should go much further and that is what the amendment in my name will do. I say to members of this House that, if you want to see a long overdue reform, it is important to support the coalition’s policy on this point. If we are to have a better society in the future than that which we have experienced in the recent past, it is important to change the government. If you want to stop the great big new tax on mining, you have to change the government. As was clear from the announcement that the coalition made this morning, if you want to stop the boats, you have to change the government. And, if you want to give families a fair go through a decent paid parental leave scheme, you have to change the government.

No-one is buying that for a moment. ‘Change the government’ is the common theme in there.

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