Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Commercial Fishing Activities) Bill 2012; Second Reading
I rise to make some comments on the legislation before us, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Commercial Fishing Activities) Bill 2012. It comes as no surprise that people across this country might think, 'Just when you thought the Labor government couldn't give us another appalling, on-the-run piece of legislation, here is another one.' It is another bungled policy. Just when the Australian people might have thought, 'Maybe there is a chance that there might not be any more; maybe there is a chance we have seen the last of the bungled policy from the Australian Labor Party, the Labor government,' here we have yet another one.
This set of circumstances, this cobbled-together policy from this government, is government by social media. That is no way to run a country. People in this nation expect the government to be responsible. They expect them to behave like grown-ups and not kindergarteners. They expect them to actually think things through properly, to think things through appropriately and to determine an appropriate outcome when it comes to policy. But what have we seen from the government here? It is just another policy on the run. Their ability to stuff things up knows no bounds. Even if you do not agree with some of the policies of the Labor Party—and, I must say, I disagree with a very significant percentage of them—you expect that there is a process in place to actually implement policy.
I look at Labor governments of years gone by, and I must say that I did not agree with a lot of their policies either. But they were actually able to run the country. We might not have liked the things that they were trying to implement and we might not have agreed with the policies they had in place, but at least they had an orderly process for the running of government. Previous Labor governments have had an orderly process of running government.
This current government has absolutely no ability to develop a policy properly, to see it through and to implement that in government. This is not just a scare tactic. This is not just me standing here saying that. The facts are there—because it has happened so consistently from this government. I am actually looking forward to the day when I can stand here and say, 'What a well thought out, fabulous piece of policy from the Labor government. Admittedly, I do not necessarily agree with it, but they have thought things through and they have put things appropriately in place.' But I suspect that I am going to be waiting for a very, very, very long time—although I do hope that the current government is not here for much longer. The government simply has no ability—none whatsoever—to put things in place appropriately.
But it is not surprising when you look at the nature of the government. This cobbled-together, Labor-Greens-Independent government—or whatever it is—is no way to run a country. We see the Greens, and good luck to them, constantly getting the government to do their bidding—although I have noticed a bit of a change of late, colleagues. There seems to be a bit of a shift away from the close, cosy relationship—