House debates

Monday, 28 February 2011

Gillard Government

Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders

2:58 pm

Photo of Joe HockeyJoe Hockey (North Sydney, Liberal Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

I second the motion. The day before the election this Prime Minister sought to differentiate between a carbon price and a carbon tax. It was this Prime Minister who sought to lead the Australian people to believe that she would not introduce a carbon tax; that she would introduce a carbon price. She was the one who used the semantics. It was this Prime Minister, in an effort to win the people at the very last moment before the last election, who sought to rule out emphatically a carbon tax. It is this Prime Minister who has deliberately deceived the Australian people with her words and with her actions.

By doing that very deed the day before the election this Prime Minister has now laid down before the Australian people her bankrupt integrity, because the Prime Minister not only emphatically said that she would not introduce a carbon tax; she said to the Australian people, ‘Trust me, I’m telling the truth.’ Therefore, this Prime Minister is setting a benchmark after only a few months in her term of office. She has been the Prime Minister of this nation not even for one year. But it does not give us any good wind—it gives us no satisfaction—to be here less than a year into her prime ministership debating her core integrity and whether she is honest and fit for the job.

The Prime Minister has set the terms of this debate. We will stand up for the Australian people here. We will stand up for the honesty that is so absolutely necessary when it comes to the issue of everyone dealing with the cost of living in their homes. We have a Prime Minister and a Treasurer who have set out to deliberately deceive the Australian people. He is sitting there with a new smirk but this Treasurer, before the last election, described allegations of a carbon tax as hysterical. He lied to the Australian people on Meet the Press. He lied to the Australian people in an interview with Kerry O’Brien on The 7:30 Report. He sits there with a warm smile because he is like no other Treasurer: he has introduced more taxes than any person in memory.

And he did not have the courage to front the press conference. He did not have the courage to look the Australian people in the eye and say, ‘I am going to increase your cost of living. I am going to do that.’ No, this is not a man with the ticker for the job. This is a weak and insipid man—a man who always takes the easy options. He is following a Prime Minister who is equally weak and insipid, because at the very moment the Australian people are asking for trustworthiness we have a Prime Minister who sets out to mislead the Australian people and to seek their support based on an untruth.

Some people might call it a ‘terminological inexactitude’. It is a tax. As Lord Byron said:

After all, what is a lie? ‘Tis but the truth in a masquerade.

So I say that this is a Prime Minister who is engaging in a deceitful game. She is a Prime Minister who is determined to wing her way to power and to preserve power on the basis of a lie. At this very moment, when the Australian people are trying to deal with higher interest rates, increased tobacco prices, increased alcohol prices, higher petrol prices and all the challenges of modern life, the Labor Party is introducing a carbon price, a mining tax, a flood tax. They are doing so with absolute disregard for the challenges that every household has at the moment in meeting their daily bills. That is because we have a liar as a Prime Minister.


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