Thursday, 24 June 2021
We've had eight years of this government and three Prime Ministers and we've sworn in four Deputy Prime Ministers. Under this government, the flipping and the flopping just doesn't stop. They said that Tony Abbott was the best person to be Prime Minister. Then they flipped to Mr Turnbull, although, for the benefit of the member for Wentworth, they then flopped over to the member for Cook. They flipped from the member for New England. They decided that the member for Riverina was a flop, and now Deputy Prime Minister Joyce is back on top. Stop the flip-flops. Stop the backflips. Stop the double-backs and the take-backs. Give this country the leadership it needs.
When you look at the record of this government, it is all over the place. You only need to look at the vaccine rollout to know that this government doesn't have a position on or a plan for anything. The Prime Minister told us last year to go to the footy. Then, all of a sudden, he was very serious, telling us it was the biggest challenge since World War II. They promised that there would be both doses and we would be fully vaccinated by October. Now, if you're lucky, it'll be one dose by the end of the year. They said they'd vaccinate all aged-care residents by Easter. Now it won't be done till the end of winter. They told us it was not a race; then they told us there was going to be a big sprint at the end of the year. The Prime Minister told us that he was going to make the vaccine 'as mandatory as you can possibly make it'. Then he said it would not be mandatory. They said we did not need JobKeeper. They said it was another silly Labor idea. Then they introduced it after millions of people had got the sack. They promised stranded Australians they would be home by Christmas. Then, having completely failed, in April they shut the door to Australians stranded in India.
Look at the ministry, which is going to have another change in a couple of day's time, I understand. In March the Prime Minister told us that the member for Pearce would remain as Attorney-General. By the end of March the member for Pearce was the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. In February the Prime Minister told us that Senator Reynolds would remain as defence minister and that he fully supported her. In March she was made Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. But nothing is as bad as the betrayal of the former member for Wentworth. He stood in the Prime Minister's courtyard, put his arms around him, hugged him and said, 'This is my leader.' Two days later Mr Turnbull was a backbencher.
Then we come to the never-ending plans of the New South Wales Liberals to steal the GST. They had control of the Prime Minister when he said, 'No changes to the GST. End of story.' Then they put legislation through to give WA, finally, a fair share of the GST. Now they're trying to unwind the changes, and we saw that in the New South Wales budget papers yesterday. Of course, we stood in here a couple of years ago when they declared we were back in black, and now we have a trillion dollars of debt. They said they'd fixed child care. It was fixed, and now we have a $1.8 billion plan that will not fix it. They said they would not cut foreign aid, something that I know many people on both sides in this place are passionate about. Then they cut $11.8 billion of foreign aid.
There were going to be no cuts to education. Then, as Treasurer, the Prime Minister cut $14 billion from education. They said, 'If you have a go, you get a go.' Then they increased the cost of university degrees by 113 per cent. They said they wanted to increase the GST to 15 per cent. Then, paraphrasing John Howard, they said, 'No. Never, ever.' They said they wanted to increase the retirement age to 70, and now they're saying they want to mainstream the cashless welfare card. The current Treasurer designed the National Energy Guarantee. Then he negated it. They voted against the banking royal commission 26 times, and then they put in a very weak replacement. This government introduced knights and dames. Then it gave Tony Abbott an Order of Australia. What happened there? They promised that there would be a referendum within 12 months on Indigenous recognition in the Constitution. After eight years of this government, we don't even have a plan for a vote. They promised no cuts to the ABC. Then they cut $780 million.
The Prime Minister is false in his convictions and fake in his promises, but he's consistent on attacking Medicare. They've attempted to privatise Medicare and they've attempted co-payments, and now there are 900 changes to Medicare benefits for surgery. And they're consistent on supporting Clive Palmer. They supported him at the 2019 election, they supported him in the High Court of Australia and now they're doing absolutely nothing as Mr Palmer is the superspreader of Australia, spreading vaccine misinformation across the letterboxes of Australia. This government should act to stop their friend Clive Palmer from spreading misinformation. (Time expired)