Thursday, 25 July 2019
Matters of Public Importance
Mr Deputy Speaker, doesn't it say it all that you had to give me the call? The government are so proud of their record and so proud of their agenda that they can't get more than one speaker to defend their record. What's the member for Lindsay doing over there? She has a lot to say in here and has a lot of slogans about having a go and getting a go. Now is the time to put your money where your mouth is and start defending the government. I'll give some leeway to the member for Curtin; she hasn't given her first speech yet. But the chamber is empty.
The MPI came through today. How good is this government? How good is the Prime Minister? Not one member of his government can defend or has any idea what this government is. Welcome to the club; neither do we. Neither do the people of Australia. I'm going to do something I never thought I'd do. In the debate today I'm going to quote The Australian today. The editorial states, 'Ill-disciplined coalition MPs are indulging their egos.' They are not my words and are not the deputy leader's words; they are the words of The Australian. The article states:
The Canberra Balloon Spectacular may have been in March but the Festival of the Lazy Thought Bubble is playing out in the capital this week. We've been treated by freestyling Coalition members and senators to a range of random ideas, from the superannuation guarantee to nuclear power, the pension assets test on the family home to the indigenous voice to parliament. The breakdown in discipline has got up the nose of Scott Morrison, who urged his team on Tuesday to stop airing the issue of a rise in the Newstart allowance and other "thoughtlets" via the media. "Where there are issues that need to be explored, I would urge colleagues to use the internal processes available to each of us…
Cue the new senator for New South Wales: 'Super row as new Lib senator defies PM.' That lasted 24 hours from when the great man spoke to his party room meeting. Why is there so much breakout happening? I'll tell you why. Because this government, as the deputy leader said, had no clue for a third term, because they simply had no idea that they would be in a third term of government. The people of Australia have spoken. What are they delivering? A big fat zero.
We know that the Australian economy has slowed to its weakest level since the tail end of the global financial crisis. Interest rates are three times lower. Growth is just 0.4 per cent for the March quarter and 1.8 per cent for the year. Australia is still in a GDP per capita recession. The national economy has gone from the eighth fastest growing economy in the OECD in 2013 to the 20th. Wages are growing eight times slower. Productivity has fallen for four consecutive quarters. Household spending is weak. Living standards are growing slower under the Liberals than under the previous Labor government. If I am wrong and this is incorrect, I will sit down and one of you people can take the call. Absolute silence as always—time and time again. The facts speak for themselves.
It seems the members of the backbench aren't the only ones coming forward with their own ideas on how to fix things. When you are in trouble in this place you always go to one person, the member for Hughes. Time and time again we know that. His idea this week was to rip-off and attack pensioners with that great idea of allowing the family home to be included in the assets test for the pension. I can't wait to tell pensioners in my electorate about that one. He went on to say, 'You don't want to force people out of their homes, but it is something you could look at.' What planet are these people on? Give me a break.
Then, during the break, I had the revelation of actually finding out who Senator Anne Ruston is. Two weeks ago I had to Google whoever she was when she went out and said, 'Pensioners have it too good as it is. They're getting a generous payment.' Does anyone over there actually talk to anyone on a low income? Do you actually talk to pensioners? I challenge any member of the government to find a pensioner who says they've got it good, because the pensioners I and every Labor member speak to are doing it tough. They need advocates and voices in this parliament. Sadly, because of the wacky thought ideas, the ill discipline and the crazy ideas that are coming forward from those opposite, we do not have an agenda for this third-term Morrison government. I simply say to the government today: get your act together. Start governing for Australia.