House debates

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Matters of Public Importance

Coalition Government

4:15 pm

Photo of Julian HillJulian Hill (Bruce, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I withdraw 'lie'. He did sneak out of the country without telling the media and try to get away with it. But that is not the real failure. The real failures in leadership are far more serious. He failed to prepare the nation for the crisis that was to come. The scientists have been telling the government for six months what to expect. He failed to invest more in aerial firefighting—the things that actually mattered. He didn't take advice. He wouldn't meet with the emergency services chiefs, because he might have had to utter the C-words—climate change—and he failed to prepare the public.

Part of national leadership is taking advice and explaining to people what might come. I've seen what good leadership looks like, in Victoria. It's Daniel Andrews. I was there on Black Saturday in Victoria, when John Brumby prepared the state for what was to come and then had the courage to face up and learn the lessons of failure. There was a failure in response. He was too slow. We have seen Albo being the Prime Minister, all around the country, from opposition. The smirk, the defensive arrogant grin, the partisan, ad-man response, asking people to donate to the Liberal Party!

Australians are decent and fair. The interesting thing, though, is talking over the summer with people who voted Liberal but who aren't sold. They voted against us. Let's be honest: they didn't vote for the government; they voted against us. But they are suspicious of who the Prime Minister is. The polling says it. The research says it. The community tells you. There are a huge number of people who voted for this government who haven't really bought the product, and they don't understand the Prime Minister. What they saw over summer was not just a bad month or two; this was that moment of crisis when the true character of a man, the true character of a government, is revealed. People saw the true character of this government: arrogant, entitled, lacking empathy, forcing people to shake hands, all spin and marketing, all about themselves. The Australian people don't matter to this government. There is no plan for bushfires. There is no plan for the nation. There is no plan for low wage growth. There is no plan for the economy. There is no plan for 110,000 older Australians waiting for their home care packages. There is no plan for the untold thousands waiting for their NDIS packages, after the government cut $1.6 billion to prop up their fake, mythical surplus. There is no plan for jobs.

It's all Labor's fault, apparently, according to all those opposite. It's as if they want people to forget that they have been the government for seven years now. This guy is not a first-termer. The Prime Minister has been in the cabinet for seven years. As we learnt this week, they don't even have a plan for themselves. They are chaotic. They're divided. On the day of the bushfire debate they decided to have a leadership challenge and decide who was going to be leader of the National Party. That went well. A civil war erupted, which has led to your elevation, Deputy Speaker. As I said, that's a good thing. We are not reflecting on the chair; we voted for you. Ministers resigned. My electorate, one of the poorest electorates in Victoria, got not one dollar of an electoral commitment, because they were all out there rorting billions of dollars, spraying it around for their own political purposes.

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