Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry representing the Minister for Jobs and Innovation. Will the minister explain why it's important to be consistent in designing and implementing policy that impacts on the lives and aspirations of Australians? Are there any alternative approaches?
I thank the member for Berowra for his question. It's a very important question, because obviously a consistent approach to thinking about and implementing policy has a dramatic impact on what governments do in the lives of Australians, particularly in the economy. It's been that consistent approach to policy development in the Abbott and now Turnbull governments that has led to us being very close to achieving the million new jobs that we promised in 2013, when the government was first elected. We are only months away from hitting that figure and, in the last 12 months, it's been 420,000 Australians who have benefited from a consistent and methodical approach to policy. So we are getting the job done.
I'm asked about consistent approaches to policy. What we see on the other side of the House is a completely shambolic approach to policymaking, and this week the Labor Party announced a guarantee for pensioners—a pensioners guarantee policy, a guarantee to save them from the Leader of the Opposition himself. That is the guarantee: to protect them from the Leader of the Opposition. But why would anybody believe that any policy held by the Leader of the Opposition would last very long in opposition, let alone in government? This man's career has been punctuated by consistent flip-flop approaches to policy and punctuated by completely doing a U-turn to suit his own expedient political ends. This year we've seen the debate about the Carmichael mine. He told Pauline Hanson, Senator Hanson, that he was the most pro-coal Leader of the Labor Party and the most pro-coal person in the Labor opposition, while he also told Geoff Cousins that he would block the Carmichael mine in North Queensland. He said in North Queensland to coal workers that he was pro the Adani mine, and in Melbourne he told the people of Batman that he was against the Adani mine. On the company tax cuts, he told the ACOSS conference in 2011 that company tax cuts grew the economy, increased wages and increased profits and jobs, and now we hear this Corbyn-esque claptrap from the Leader of the Opposition about what company tax cuts would do.
But he was pinged in Paul Kelly's book, because his greatest duplicity is saved for his internal Labor Party dynamics. I quote the Paul Kelly book:
The distrust between Rudd and Shorten was intense and enduring.
The Gillard camp was contemptuous of Shorten, considering him weak and duplicitous … Neither side trusted him and neither side revised its view.
That has been the hallmark of the Leader of the Opposition's approach to life, to politics and to the union. That's why he can't be trusted, and the Australian people know that and they don't trust him.