House debates

Monday, 10 September 2018


Morrison Government

11:38 am

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

I second the motion. Who will forget that vision of the then Treasurer, now Prime Minister, with his arm around the member for Wentworth? Who will forget him in the courtyard saying, 'I'm ambitious for this man'? He should have said, 'I'm ambitious for his job.' Less than 48 hours later, he'd knifed the Prime Minister and placed himself on the throne. Who knows how long this plot had been waiting to hatch? Who knows how long he'd been working towards this end? One person knows. That's right—we know who knows.

This Prime Minister does not come to this job with clean hands. Right around Australia, people are scratching their heads and going, 'Actually, that Malcolm Turnbull was pretty popular, and the Liberal Party actually weren't very popular at all.' They've exchanged a popular leader of an unpopular party for a less-popular leader of an unpopular party. Where is the logic of this? The other side had the members for Flinders, Stirling, Hume, Aston and Moncrieff all pledging their loyalty to the former Prime Minister, the member for Wentworth, and then all of them voted for this man opposite, the member for Dickson. This is the guy, in charge of our borders, who can't even count to 43. It makes me a little nervous to have someone in charge of the borders who can't even count to 43. But you know for certain that those on the opposite side have been obsessed with the numbers for weeks. For months they've been focused on the numbers.

We've been focused on another set of numbers. We've been focused on the number of people in hospital waiting queues. We've been focused on the number of kids who are having their access to early childhood education cut because of the changes of those opposite. We're focused on the number of young Australians who are missing out on apprenticeships because of the cuts to TAFE and vocational education.

Those opposite, by their own description, have given up governing. Even the Prime Minister calls his own people the 'muppet show', a bunch of muppets. The Prime Minister says that of his own people. But—you know what?—this new Prime Minister himself has nothing too much to be smug about. People won't forget his record as Treasurer. They won't forget wages growth at record lows. They won't forget 1.8 million people on the unemployment queue or looking for more work. They won't forget the fact that, when Scott Morrison was Treasurer, net debt doubled, gross debt crashed through half a trillion dollars and the pension age was raised to 70. How many times is the now Prime Minister on the record saying how necessary it is? Cuts to penalty rates, cuts to schools, cuts to health care and cuts to banking taxes as well are in his DNA.

People know his record. They know that the reason he's prepared to slip and slide through these things that he used to say were tenets of good government—they know that the reason he's prepared to give up on them today—is that he just wants to grub a few extra votes. He knows he's up against it. He will say anything to get a few extra votes, in the party room and in public.

And—do you know what, Mr Deputy Speaker?—the leader of government business challenges us to talk about what's been leaked during this time. Well, aside from the infrastructure plan, aside from the tax plan, aside from the school-funding plan, I think the most interesting leaks coming from those on the other side are the leaks about the toxicity of their internal culture, the fact that they cannot work together to deliver for Australians, because they cannot work together, full stop. To have respected women on the opposite side talking about a toxic culture of bullying and then having the now Prime Minister dismiss that, refuse to take it seriously, refuse to investigate it, show just how unfit that mob opposite are to govern.

I noticed with interest that the Prime Minister, when swearing in the new front bench, decided he had to give them all a lapel pin to remember why they're here. I noticed, in fact, that the manager of government business and the minister for immigration—


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