House debates

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Matters of Public Importance

Morrison Government

4:05 pm

Photo of Julian LeeserJulian Leeser (Berowra, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Sitting here listening to members opposite, I've realised that the Labor Party puts on the best show in town. We've seen some wonderful performances this afternoon, performances that would rival the greats. Olivier, Gielgud, Streep—none of them are as good as what we have seen from the political theatre of the Labor Party! No-one does better confected outrage than the Labor Party. Give them the Golden Globes! Give them the Academy Awards! Give them the Logies! As actors, they are world-class. But, at running the country or coming up with a plan for our future, any of the community theatre groups in the Berowra electorate could do a better job.

I'm delighted to speak today about who's got the better plan for the future. Six years ago, the Leader of the Opposition was in a public contest with the member for Maribyrnong for the leadership of the Labor Party. It was an occasion for both men to outline their vision for the future. The Leader of the Opposition lost that contest and the member for Maribyrnong won. The Leader of the Opposition never hid his ambition to one day lead the Australian Labor Party. So you'd think, over the six years that he was not the leader, he would have come up with a plan for the future of Australia, a plan for the Labor Party and a plan to do things differently. Expectations were high, but the reality has proven different.

The Leader of the Opposition, since he's taken the reins of the Labor Party, has had nothing but parliamentary tactics. We have seen the famous 'bitch and fold', where they argue against particular proposals and then decide at the end of the day that they will vote for them when their amendments don't pass. We saw that with the tax cuts. We saw it with the drought funding. We saw it with terror exclusions. We keep seeing it everywhere. Only on legislation dealing with unions do they fight to the death like Kilkenny cats. This shows that this is effectively the same old Labor Party, with no plan for the future, no plan for ordinary workers, just a plan to protect union privilege.

I've been reading the very interesting 2019 Labor election review, and it's got some very important things in it for the Labor Party. Two great Labor leaders, Craig Emerson and Jay Weatherill, said this—you don't have to go very far; it's on page 8—about Labor's policy formulation:

Labor's policy formulation should be guided by the national interest, avoiding any perception of capture by special interest groups.

But what is the Labor Party, fundamentally? The Labor Party is the political wing of the most corrupt and difficult special interest group in the country—the trade union movement. On every single chance they have to put workers and productivity ahead of union privilege, they favour union privilege. The smart move for the Labor Party to get in touch is to actually go back to representing the workers that they're supposed to represent.

Still on page 8 of the review, it says:

Working people experiencing economic dislocation caused by technological change will lose faith in Labor if they do not believe the Party is responding to their needs, instead being preoccupied with issues not concerning them or that are actively against their interests. A grievance-based approach can create a culture of moving from one issue to the next, formulating myriad policies in response to a broad range of concerns.

But, all the while, they are ignoring ordinary working people. Labor clearly are not on the side of working people because, despite the review, despite all the noise, they continue to cling to their $387 billion of new taxes, including the retiree tax and the housing tax.

The Leader of the Opposition has talked today on this MPI about the Prime Minister throwing out the toys, but we've had a fortnight of those opposite throwing out the toys. We've had quorum calls. We've had divisions called. We've had nothing but a continual smear against the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction and against Brian Houston. It would be nice to hear from the Labor Party about their plans for the future.

We, on the other hand, have very strong plans for the future. We have the tax cuts of up to $1,080 for ordinary working Australians, providing a pathway to 2024-25 so that 94 per cent of Australians pay nothing more than 30c in the dollar. On safe borders, we repealed the terrible medevac bill yesterday, and that has restored our border integrity. There are the infrastructure investments—$100 billion right across the country in projects like NorthConnex in my electorate. There are the free trade agreements which mean that 70 per cent of all exports are now under free trade agreements. The opportunities under the leadership of the Morrison government are expanding Australia, giving us a plan and giving us hope for and confidence in the future.

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