House debates

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Matters of Public Importance

Morrison Government

3:19 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

It is the 'witless protection program' that this man has. The fact is that when this Prime Minister is held to account he talks of a bubble. What's a bubble like? It's all surface and no substance. It's see-through. It's full of hot air. If there's a bubble boy in this place, he sits there during question time, because this Prime Minister just runs from any scrutiny whatsoever. He doesn't want scrutiny from the media. He doesn't want any scrutiny or processes in the parliament. When gets questions he says things like, 'That's just in the bubble' or 'That's just gossip.' When you raise questions legitimately about why he won't give straight answers to questions, he smears and he says, 'You're saying something untoward about me and who I am.' Well, we're not. What we are simply saying very clearly is that, when you are the Prime Minister of the nation, you are accountable to that nation. You can't regard democracy and these processes as just an inconvenience, and that's precisely what this government does.

At the same time as they had this, they introduced the legislation and crunched it all through today. What is their actual agenda for 2020, the new decade? They don't have an economic plan for wages, for dealing with productivity, for dealing with consumer demand and retail spending, for dealing with growth. They don't have a plan for energy and for dealing with climate change. They don't have a plan to deal with aged care, where the royal commission is showing an absolute crisis. They don't have a plan to deal with robodebt where they got knocked over in the courts last week. They don't have a plan for the nation. All they have is a plan for themselves.

They think that, if they just sit there with the born-to-rule mentality that they have and tell everyone else to just keep quiet, it will all be okay. Well, it won't be. I'll tell you what we've been doing in that meantime. We dusted ourselves off and picked ourselves up after May. We've had our review and now we're looking forward. In two days time I will be giving the third vision statement in the series, following on from jobs and the economy. Ironically, I'm going to have to rewrite it after today because it's about democracy, it's about our process, it's about scrutiny and how we increase participation and ownership over the direction of the country, over the future of the country. You can't have ownership if we're a one-party state and if everyone just keeps quiet.

There are big challenges that this country has. The government think that if they just stand up and get people asking Dorothy Dixers and say, 'We're very confident and everything is hunky-dory,' those challenges will go away. They won't. The problem for this government is it's scared of the present but terrified of the future. It won't address the future challenges that are very serious. We will hold them to account. We have done that today and we've done that in this parliament. When we come back, we will continue to hold the government to account, but we'll also be pursuing our positive agenda for the nation because this nation needs a Labor government.

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