House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Matters of Public Importance

Morrison Government

5:14 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Adelaide, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I was just listening to the speech from the member opposite, who used the term 'fake news' about the opposition. If you want to talk about fake news, we all remember 2001 and 'children overboard', which was the panacea of fake news that was propagated to the Australian public through lies and propaganda. So don't talk about fake news, because you guys are the experts on it!

We've seen three prime ministers in eight years. We had Mr Abbott in 2013, and we saw the cruellest budget cuts this nation had seen. Health, education and a whole range of other things were cut. We then had the Turnbull Liberal government where, really, there was nothing happening. Mr Turnbull was dominated by the extreme right wing of his party. About the only thing he can claim to have achieved was to sit on the fence getting a sore bum because he didn't want to upset the right-wing element in his party. And we saw the blowout in waiting times for aged-care packages under his leadership. And now we have the Morrison Liberal government, a government that has left far too many Australians behind. Too many promises are being broken. It's a government that loves the marketing, photos, handshakes and constantly being in the media but without actually producing something, without actually doing something for the betterment of Australians.

What is truly important to this government? Today we have seen industrial relations again on the forefront. In other words, they are looking at how they can chop the minimum basic wage of some of the poorest people who are struggling on the lowest wages in this country. The government can't help themselves. Cutting wages and workers' entitlements is in the DNA of this government. It always has been. The industrial relations minister got up today and said, 'No, that's not right, this isn't true.' I was here when Work Choices was on, and that's what they were saying back then—every day there was another story of someone who had lost work entitlements or had lower wages because of the government's policies. And we're heading down the same track again.

What is truly important to this government? The reality is that it's about cutting wages and ensuring that their big mates in multinational companies are doing well. Why go after the workers with this particular policy that they are trying to sell? Instead they should be chopping at the multinationals who are paying no tax—companies that have offshore accounts and companies in the Cayman Islands. But we've seen nothing in that area. Instead, they came up with robodebt. Someone in the government thought: 'Let's go after some of the most vulnerable people'—the unemployed, people on the disability pension, people who are on the age pension—'and see what we can recover to get a budget that will put us back in the black'. There were other ways of doing this. They could have tackled some of those businesses that pay zero tax in this country.

We have seen sports rorts—$100 million of taxpayer money to prop up the Liberal Party's electoral chances. We've seen their faulty NBN. They were ridiculing our NBN when we were in government. They ridiculed it year after year after year. But they've put their tails between their legs and have now implemented what we were promoting back in 2013. We've sent dodgy land deals—$30 million for a $3 million piece of land from a Liberal donor mate, $30 million for a piece of land that was valued at $3 million. If that isn't dodgy, I don't know what is. And still we have no integrity commission. They promised us an integrity commission. Where is it? I wonder why! It would look at deals like the dodgy land deal paying $30 million for something that is valued at $3 million. They promised a $4 billion Emergency Response Fund that would spend $200 million a year, yet not one cent has been spent.

The list goes on and on and on. They announced the $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy—and only three per cent will be spent this year. It would have been great if they'd put some of that money into South Australia when GMH was there producing cars and employing 1,000 people, and 30 jobs per assembly-line worker— (Time expired)


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