Wednesday, 26 May 2021
Matters of Public Importance
Almost every afternoon we discuss a matter of public importance in this place. We discuss the big issues of the day—taxes, vaccines, infrastructure, the pandemic, the recent recession. The Labor Party puts forward a topic that matters to the people of Australia, and we have a debate, often spirited, about these issues, because debating important matters is largely what we do here. So, when the opposition put forward a matter today that is without a substantive noun, my first thought was of a little sympathy for the other side. It must be a tough day in the back rooms of the Labor Party when, after just one MPI this week, they run out of a tangible issue to raise. There must be some soul-searching going on there.
But I'm an optimist. I have many friends over there, including the member who just spoke. I consider her a good friend. So, instead, I see this MPI as a step towards agreement between the two parties. I return to the progressive discussions between parties that we saw in the Menzies and Calwell era, in the Hawke and Howard era, where parties certainly disagreed but worked through their differences to find a way forward, avoiding the slanging matches and petty squabbles that we so often see here now, in favour of discussion and progressive debates that actually move things forward.