Thursday, 21 February 2019
These are matters upon which the Labor Party are hopelessly divided. We know they are divided on the economy, because when we wanted to expand Australia's trade borders, when we wanted to go out there and execute those arrangements with China and Korea and all of these countries—particularly with China—what did the Labor Party do? They opposed it. And then they were for it, then they were against it and then they were for it. When it comes to matters of the Australian economy, the Labor Party is riven.
What do we also know about the Labor Party in this past fortnight? We know when it comes to our traditional industries—the minerals industry, the resources sector, the forestry sector and the agriculture sector—this is a Labor Party that has deserted the workers in all of those areas. They have deserted them.
We have in the member for Corio, who would be part of a Shorten cabinet, someone who said this, 'The global market for thermal coal has collapsed, and, wonderful'—Captain Wonderful over there!—'that's a good thing.' Our biggest minerals export employs, across the sector, some 55,000 people who are seeing the market upon which their jobs depend evaporating away, and the Labor Party says that this is a wonderful thing. So if you're living in North Queensland, if you're living in Townsville, if you're living across the Galilee Basin, if you're living in Queensland, if you're living anywhere in New South Wales—perhaps up in the Hunter Valley—if you're living up there, know this: the Labor Party's not for you. The Labor Party says that your job doesn't matter. The Labor Party says the global markets upon which your job depends don't matter. Those in the Labor Party who used to think that it did matter no longer have a voice under this leader of the Labor Party. This leader of the Labor Party, who says he's a great person for jobs, with his career in the union movement—clearly what he was learning in the union movement was not how to support people's jobs but only how to support himself. So many union leaders we've seen from those militant unions go into those jobs seeking only to support themselves, advance themselves and get themselves into this place.
The number of times I've asked those opposite to raise their hands if they're a member of a union—here we go again! Raise your hands if you’re a member of the union? There's just one! Maybe there are three. What a brave bunch they are! They cannot even declare their hand that they are members of union movements. I don't know why they wouldn't. If it's a good thing, why wouldn't you happily proclaim it? Because they know that the only reason they were members of those union movements was to try and crawl into this chamber on the back of their union members.
It's not only in the area of our traditional industries where the Labor Party have declared their hand in the last fortnight as being hopelessly divided. Of course we know that under the Labor Party they are hopelessly divided on the issues of national security. That was no clearer than when they came into this place last week and voted to support weakening Australia's border protection regime, hopelessly ignoring the lessons of their own history and ignoring the body count on their own watch. I remember well when the Labor Party members were in government and they came into this chamber and wept. The tears have dried up, just like their memories when it comes to border protection, because they have committed the same sin of offence in this place that they committed when they were in government, when they hopelessly ran our borders down.
The reason that happened is not because there are some people on the other side who believe that borders should be protected. It's because those who don't are controlling the Labor Party, and the leader of the Labor Party has hopelessly rolled over to the left, and others simply want to undermine our borders. They have recklessly supported a bill that does many things, as the Attorney and the Minister for Home Affairs and the minister for immigration outlined this week: transferring permanently to Australia people who, in many cases, have been found in those countries not to be refugees at all, and those who, under a character test, would never be allowed to come to Australia, because, also under that bill, what the Labor Party have done is weakened the ministerial discretion that previously existed that prevents a minister and the government of the day being able to protect our borders. They've watered down that discretion. And, as a result, they've also ignored the fact that, in order to address the very error that they were advised by our security agencies that they'd be making, we would need to immediately reopen the Christmas Island detention centre.