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

They might be worried about law and order, their personal safety. No-one other than the government can get 13 police to chase up documents 10 years old, when ordinary Australians can't get the attention and the safety they want. This is a government not focused on the priorities of the people. But, of course, we know that this is a government that doesn't care about the conditions of ordinary people. We're not going to let the government off the hook for the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, putting pressure on drivers to cut corners and take risks. We've already seen a seven per cent increase in the rate of fatal crashes involving articulated trucks. And the consequences of letting ideological obsessions control industrial relations policy are that workplaces are less safe, wages are flat and the rip-offs and the rorts against workers continue.

Whilst this government spends every week obsessing about its political opponents, Australians suffer. In the last financial year, 55 million calls to Centrelink went unanswered—families looking for support, people with disability looking for help, and jobseekers trying to pick themselves up and get back into the employment market. This is a government that can't answer the phone to its citizens but can find their address to send the debt collectors to. And in The Courier-Mail today we see another cabinet leak, saying the Prime Minister's decided to turn his back on constitutional recognition for the First Australians. This is a government that never misses an opportunity not to represent and put the people first.

I have to say—and I don't mind admitting this, even as Leader of the Opposition—that, when the member for Wentworth rolled the former Prime Minister, I thought my job would get harder but I actually thought politics would get better. I think the Australian people genuinely thought it was a chance to put some faith and hope back into politics. But the Prime Minister, by all his actions ever since that event two years ago, has systematically destroyed the faith and hope of people who thought he'd be better than what he's turned out to be. And we know that the Prime Minister has a particular style of destruction: when all else fails him, he chases his opponents. Ask Peter King, the former member for Wentworth. Ask Brendan Nelson. Ask Tony Abbott. Ask Kevin Rudd. Well, I just want to advise the government on this fact: Australians have worked this Prime Minister out; they know he doesn't believe in anything except his own survival. That's just not good enough for Australia. Every day between now and the next election, we will put people first: we will stand up for better quality jobs, housing affordability, better energy prices and a fair go all round.


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