Senate debates

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


3:08 pm

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

The Senate has, regrettably, just been subjected to five minutes of personal denigration by a Labor senator—nothing positive to provide to the discussion of policy matters in this country. It was an unedifying display of ugly, destructive language. There was tearing down of everybody and everything that Senator Cameron could turn his mind to. Well, I want to say to the Australian people that we on this side of the chamber, the Liberal-Nationals coalition, in fact don't want to tear down, don't want to destroy, don't want to denigrate. We are actually about building the nation, building opportunities, and that is what Senator Nash has been doing in her portfolio area and in the regional areas of this country. I refer to my home state of Tasmania, where just three or four short years ago we had the highest unemployment rate in the country: 8.1 per cent. Today it is below six per cent, bearing testament to the wonderful economic and social transition that has occurred courtesy of the policies of the Liberal-National parties at both federal and state levels.

Getting people into jobs is not only an economic good. Sure, they become contributors to our economy; sure, they are no longer reliant on welfare. But there is also a great social good when you see thousands of your fellow Tasmanians going from welfare into employment, becoming self-reliant and being part of the economic mainstream. All the social data tells us that if people are given a job and have the opportunity of a job their mental health, their physical health, their self-esteem and their social interaction are all enhanced. This has been the task for this government over the past three plus years: to seek to grow the economy and to provide job opportunities for our fellow Australians so that they can become self-reliant and can become part of the economic and social mainstream of our nation.

In stark contrast to the denigration, the personal vitriol, the nastiness that we had to endure from Senator Cameron's contribution, I want to talk about the positives, such as in my home state of Tasmania. We go to the very north of Australia—Senator Macdonald may well talk about this—the great northern development policies that we have for this country. These are the sorts of things that the Australian people want us as a government and as a parliament to get on with. But no, the Australian Labor Party cannot help itself. Devoid of any policy, having a cupboard that is completely barren of any policy ideas, it comes into this place and the other place simply to denigrate ministers who may have an issue in relation to a constitutional provision relating to dual citizenship, and then making mischief about that. Whilst the Labor Party concentrate on these political games, on this political gamesmanship, we as a government are getting on with the task of delivering to the people of Australia. That is what we're elected to do. That's what we're paid to do. That is what we are sworn to do. That is what we on this side are actually doing, actually achieving for the people of Australia.

Back to my home state: not only has the unemployment rate gone down but the tourism numbers are burgeoning. Hobart Airport is being extended. The Midland Highway is being duplicated in many areas and upgraded. We are having new irrigation schemes put in. We are having a freight equalisation scheme for our exports, allowing us to hit the world market. The list goes on. I would invite those who especially bring the news to the Australian people to do a bit of a juxtaposition, a bit of a compare and contrast, and put the nastiness of Senator Cameron's contribution next to the actual achievements of the Liberal National Party government over the past three or four years. If they were to do that, the Australian people would see a government getting on with the task and not playing politics such as Senator Cameron and the Labor Party do.


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