House debates

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Matters of Public Importance

Morrison Government

3:40 pm

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

We now know why the government want to close down debate. It's not because they're afraid about what we're going to say; it's because they're petrified about what their own members might say! What an absolutely pathetic performance—almost as pathetic as during question time, having speaker after speaking getting up and parroting a prepared statement about how confident they are in the future of Australia. Well, Australians can be confident about the future of this country, but they can have no confidence in the ability of this government to do the right thing or to put in place a plan to manage the future of the economy. The evidence for that is clear. They had the opportunity today to suspend all of the business of the parliament and prioritise things that Australia really needs to focus on. None of us on this side of the House are surprised that No. 1 on their list was a bill to bust unions, because the only consistent thing between the first conservative government and this woeful, pathetic government today is their inbuilt hatred of unions. That is the only thing that ties this woeful display of a conservative government together today.

But what was surprising were the things that weren't on their list of priorities. There wasn't a bill to introduce a royal commission into veteran suicides. There wasn't a bill to respond to the interim recommendations of the aged-care royal commission. There wasn't a plan tabled to deal with a weak economy that is getting weaker. And, most extraordinary of all—given that today marks 308 days since the handing down of the Hayne commission into the banking and finance sector, which gave 76 recommendations to government—there was no bill in the House today to introduce the recommendations of the Hayne royal commission.

I ask you this: of the 76 recommendations that we have had for over 300 days, how many do you think they have introduced? Do you think it is half? Let's not get ahead of them. Do you think they've introduced 30, 36 or 37? What about 26 or 27? If they'd busted their gut, maybe 15. Not 15, not 14 and not 13; not even 10. They have introduced six of the recommendations of the royal commission. They voted against the royal commission 27 times and they are working hell for leather to delay the implementation of that royal commission. What are the recommendations that they are delaying? How about the fact that there are no protections against unfair terms in insurance contracts? What about families who are suffering claims-handling issues? We're coming to the bushfire season, as well as hailstorms, floods and other natural disasters. We hope that nobody suffers the terrible results of any of those disasters, but you'd have to say that, on average, it's going to happen somewhere. The claims-handling procedures were exposed by the royal commission as woefully inadequate. They were supposed to introduce legislation on their own low-ball target, and there is nothing in the House today—no plan to deal with it. Their priorities were somewhere else.

They want to give the industrial regulator more power to deal with shutting down unions, but what about giving the finance sector regulator more powers, which not one, not two, not three but four reports have said are woefully inadequate? You'd think that would be a priority, but it wasn't. Instead of considering a bill that would provide ASIC with the stronger enforcement powers that they need to protect Aussies over the Christmas break from shonks, the government drop-kicked this critical legislation to next year in favour of its union-busting bill. The truth is that, if they were looking for something to drop-kick, it should have been that woeful dropkick who sits over there—the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction—because, if there is a low performer in this woeful government, it's him and he doesn't deserve to hold his seat. This government's priorities are all wrong. (Time expired)

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