House debates

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Matters of Public Importance

Morrison Government

3:43 pm

Photo of Susan TemplemanSusan Templeman (Macquarie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I think after that it's time to have a bit of logic to this debate. Most people recognise that our job here is to govern. In fact, especially when you're in government, that's really job description 101. It seems that those opposite haven't clocked that the election is over, they won and now it's time to get on with the job. They've had six years, and I still don't think they've worked out how to govern and what it means to have a vision for this country.

They're still obsessed with Labor. Their words suggest they're driven by one goal and one goal only, and that is to do things that are meant to be a test for Labor. We are up for any test that you care to put our way. There's no discussion on the other side about what's best for this country, what's best for Australia. There is no vision. Or perhaps there is, and they're too afraid to outline it to us. There are no plans to deal with the myriad of issues that we are facing. What's the plan for the NBN in my electorate of Macquarie where we need to see how we can improve FTTN and we need to see how uneven technologies that are creating different playing fields for different people are going to be fixed? There is no plan for the forgotten houses of NBN who might never get that connection. What's the plan for the water supply for the growing Western Sydney population? What's the plan for flight paths from the second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek? What's the plan to protect the Blue Mountains, and the rest of Western Sydney, from aeroplane noise 24 hours a day? They have no idea what they're in for. What's the plan for improving funding for schools, hospitals and preventative health care? Wait a minute. The plan is to keep cutting health and education.

What's the plan to make sure that people get proper access to the NDIS and that providers can stay viable in the face of long plan delays? What's the plan for providing improved mental health services, especially for the Hawkesbury and for young people when there's no access to headspace? What's the plan for ending homelessness? What's the plan for housing affordability? What's the plan for lower power prices? What is the plan for PFAS contamination at Richmond RAAF base? There is no plan to decontaminate mass areas of soil and water.

What's the plan for dealing with drought now? What's the plan for Newstart, for making sure that people who are unemployed are adequately supported while they search for work? What's the plan for raising the rate? What's the so urgently needed plan for making ParentsNext a less punitive program? What's the plan for tackling climate change? We know the answer to that one. There just flat out isn't one. This is in the too-hard basket not because science and industry don't have answers but because implementing anything meets opposition not from us but from within the coalition. What's the plan for recognising First Peoples? Again, nothing; not because they expect opposition from us but because they can't get agreement between themselves and appear to not even be trying.

No wonder the Senate has again run out of business. There is no vision, no plan and no destination that this government is taking us to. The problem is: if you leave a vacuum, something will fill it. What we're seeing is that the backbenchers can see that there's no plan and they're filling it. Every backbencher is coming up with an idea they dreamt up over Sunday lunch. What plans have we had so far? We've had the plan for nuclear power plants. Earlier in the week we had the plan to ditch the legislated superannuation guarantee increase to 12 per cent. Today it's a plan to scrap superannuation altogether and make it something you do if you feel like it. Goodness knows what the plan will be tomorrow.

With no agenda it is no wonder that this government is failing to steer the economy, which really needs some direction. We all know that interest rates are at their lowest since the GFC. It might be okay for people trying to buy a house, but it isn't good for anyone trying to live off their earnings. Net debt has more than doubled and gross debt is at record highs. Both of these have gone up faster under the Liberals' watch than when we were in government. Remember that we dealt with the global financial crisis. We need direction and we're not getting it from this government. It's about time they realised that they need to do the job.


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