House debates

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Matters of Public Importance

Turnbull Government

3:17 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

This matter of public importance must start with this observation: Labor's criticism of the government's bungled raids is not about the integrity of the AFP; it's about the lack of integrity in this rotten government. Yesterday morning I said that these raids were the desperate action of a grubby government led by, quite frankly, a grubby Prime Minister—and I repeat that today. This isn't a throwaway line, but everything that has happened in the previous 36 hours, since I first made that statement, and everything that this government has done since yesterday morning confirms the truth that Australia has a grubby government and an increasingly grubby Prime Minister. During question time, this point was most clearly illustrated when the Prime Minister had a chance to defend Senator Cash. When the opposition moved a resolution condemning her, they did not defend her; they simply gagged the debate. Of course, the events this week—the unprecedented actions of this government—are occurring because this government is a desperate government running out of time.

Senator Cash should try and salvage what remains of her reputation by resigning immediately. After all, if she seeks inspiration on the matter she should listen to the words that her leader, the member for Wentworth, said during the 'Utegate' scandal in 2009. He said that misleading the parliament:

… is an offence that should result in the dismissal or resignation of a minister. It is perfectly clear.

But, like so many other issues under this current Prime Minister, we've seen a pattern of behaviour emerge again. What this Prime Minister and this government do is focus all their energy on their opponents and none on the people of Australia. What this government and this Prime Minister do, whenever confronted by a choice to take the high road for national interest and put people first, is always look for the low road of their self-interest and to attack their opponents.

We see the classic Turnbullian power play: wild, wild accusations, extreme language, big promises. You can just see him when he was a barrister with the clients the night before the case: 'We've got this in the bag. I'm the best that money can buy, and we've got this in the bag.' But the next morning, as we saw yesterday morning, we see that the case has changed. The facts are actually not as good—poor old client. 'Oh, my learned leader, the barrister, says—oh, the facts are changing. I'll be back to you in a moment.' You could just see the disappointed ranks of the government: 'But, dear leader, you said that we would win this. We've got Shorten where we want him. We have Labor where we want them. We have the unions where we want them.' And what happened? Classic overreach. Deep down, every member of the government knows that their Prime Minister lacks judgement.

What should the government have been doing this week? They should have been prioritising first home buyers, but instead they defend the negative-gearing tax interests. They are a government who, when they have the chance to pull the trigger on gas exports, instead spend their time defending their beleaguered Deputy Prime Minister. They are a government who, when they talk about workplace relations, always talk about unions and union representatives. They say they like the workers, but they've never seen a worker whose penalty rate they don't want to cut arbitrarily. I've got no doubt that they pop into 7-Eleven when the coffee maker at home is broken, and they get served by workers, but does it ever cross their born-to-rule elitist minds that maybe the workers who are serving them in these fast-food operations are not getting paid properly; they're the victims of wage theft? They love to talk about employment, but they never talk about casualised employment. They never talk about the people who are underemployed.

Mr Falinski interjecting


No comments