House debates

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Matters of Public Importance

Prime Minister

3:42 pm

Photo of Ross HartRoss Hart (Bass, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

There is a problem with this Prime Minister's leadership, and the problem is that there is none. There is a complete absence of leadership by this Prime Minister. Leadership, when you look at this Prime Minister, is very hard to define. Leadership can mean many different things to different people. It can mean leading a group of people, like the government, or it can mean occupying a particular position. I suggest that the current Prime Minister simply occupies the position of leader but demonstrates none of the attributes which deliver leadership. He occupies the office but he has none of the authority. Who is in control?

There is a difference between the rhetoric that this government delivers and what it actually delivers. He speaks of his achievements, but there is nothing actually delivered. What is actually delivered is disappointment, dithering and division. Let us talk about disappointment. Who has the Prime Minister disappointed? For a start, he has not listened to my community, and I would suggest that he has not listened to the Australian community. He has not listened to my community regarding the important issues of health and education. He was able to deliver for Tasmania—he delivered three new Labor members! On same-sex marriage, he wants an expensive, $170 million opinion poll, forced to heel by the right of the Liberal party. He has disappointed everybody in Australia who wants a first-class NBN. What do we get instead? We have a bastardisation of an NBN plan with a second-class NBN that will be delivered across Australia.

He has no tax plan—or, if he has a tax plan, it varies from day to day. First, he floats an increase in the GST, but that only lasts for a few days or a few weeks. Then he floats for a matter of hours a proposal regarding double taxation. That was a good one. It lasted longer than Paris Hilton's marriage—no, that was another marriage. He did not settle on the question of tax cuts; instead he delivered $50 billion worth of tax cuts to the big end of town. He prefers the big end of town instead of ordinary working Australians.

He has disappointed women on his own side of parliament. He has called himself a feminist but he is the worst performing minister in appointing females to boards. He has five fewer females as members of parliament compared to the previous Prime Minister. He has disappointed Australians. Laurie Oakes commented on his speech on election night that it was the most disappointing, pathetic speech given by a Prime Minister. He is a ditherer. He has no authority to make decisions. He has to wait on what the Right of his party says he can do before he makes a decision.

He knows that our vote in this place on same-sex marriage will deliver same-sex marriage almost immediately. Instead, he wants an expensive, non-binding opinion poll to resolve the matter. He is not able to resist the Right of his party. He floats ideas that last for less than hours. He is a master of division. He has no leadership. He is unable to advocate for positions he has held previously. Again, on the issue of same-sex marriage, he is somebody who advocated for a free vote in this parliament but now prefers an expensive plebiscite.

He facilitates language like the Treasurer's 'taxed or taxed-nots'. He prefers to raise solutions but not advocate for change. He talks about being flexible but offers no flexibility when it comes to delivering policy in this House. He talks about housing affordability but does not strike at the heart of the issue, instead preferring the big end of town and preferring people to have outrageous tax breaks instead of making practical solutions in this place. (Time expired)


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