House debates

Thursday, 15 February 2024

Matters of Public Importance

Albanese Government

3:42 pm

Photo of Andrew CharltonAndrew Charlton (Parramatta, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

It's a pleasure to be talking about today's MPI topic, which is about incompetence and breaches of trust which are harming the Australian people. Friends, this topic reminds me of the first rule of glasshouses: don't throw stones. It's a pretty bad week for the Liberals to be talking about trust and it's a particularly bad week for them to be talking about competence.

We had this week, in their own words—the words of their own ministers and former members of parliament—a litany of confessions about the incompetence and lack of trust they showed during their term in government. Let me read you some of my favourites. John Alexander, the former member for Bennelong, who was replaced by the terrific current member for Bennelong. Just like the current member for Bennelong, a man of great integrity, he speaks the truth. This is what John Alexander said on the ABC on Nemesis: 'In looking at the nine years in power and our three prime ministers, the playing of politics was the No. 1 game, the No. 2 game and the No. 3 game. It's not productive and it's not edifying.' That's what said on ABC and that is right: it's not edifying. It is entertaining, but it is not edifying. That was the take of a former member of the Liberal Party and a former member of this House on the competence and the trust of the Liberals.

This is what Bridget McKenzie had to say in the Nemesis program. She described the period in government from the Liberals and Nationals as 'an internal war'. She said it was like 'being strapped to a suicide bomber—something horrific and catastrophic was going to happen'. That was Senator McKenzie's testimony on the trust and competence of the Liberals during their time in government.

Finally, Malcolm Turnbull—what would he say on this MPI about the trust and competence of the Liberals in government? Fortunately we know, because he gave a quote to the Nemesis program. He said, 'We were treating the government of Australia as a plaything.' This is the take of the former leader of the Liberal Party on the trust and competence that they displayed. Even Christopher Pyne on the same program had a hot take relevant to the MPI. He described the Dutton plotters as the Keystone Cops. This is a party who, in their own words, given testimony by people in their own ranks, showed a remarkable level of incompetence and lack of trust, condemned by their own statements.

This MPI is about trust, and it is about competence. How should we judge the trust and competence of this government versus previous governments? There'll be many different ways to do that. Many people will have their own perspective. But one way, as I said just before question time, is to judge governments by the range of metrics with which the Liberals themselves would have us judge them. As I said before question time, on the eve of the election, they put out their own list of metrics that they thought reflected their competence—a series of metrics of unemployment, youth unemployment, welfare dependency and income tax. This is what they wanted the Australian public to judge them on. They were so keen on these metrics that they printed 20 million of them and handed them to every single Australian on their way to the polling booth. When we go through them we see that, on metric after metric, the government that they are complaining about, the Albanese government, has overperformed the metrics that they themselves set down to be judged by. Whether it be unemployment, youth employment, welfare dependency or income tax, in every single metric this government has performed more strongly than the previous government—on their own metrics.

I'll take the point of order on inflation, because the Leader of the Opposition made a big deal of inflation in his rambling speech on this MPI. He said, 'Australia has higher inflation than every other member of the G7.' There are two problems with that, friends. First of all, Australia isn't in the G7. You can't just pick whatever group you want to pick. Secondly, Australia's— (Time expired)


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