Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers
Every day we turn up in parliament this week, we get more of a display of the Liberal Party's internal civil war. In rising today to take note of answers given by questions asked by Senator Singh and Senator Chisholm, I can see the answers display more and more of the civil war that's taking place within the coalition. At the heart of this is not just a leadership dispute; we can see a complete incapacity to govern and to make decisions in the best interests of our nation.
While we have, within the National Electricity Market, energy bills skyrocketing, we've been left with an absolute policy vacuum. While energy bills skyrocket, we've seen a failure to plan for our nation's electricity markets, a failure to price carbon, and a failure to look at prices—all of which could have been addressed, had the coalition had the guts all along to address climate change, and to address the need to invest in renewable energy infrastructure in our nation, to give the market the certainty that it has needed now for a good decade. We've been at this debate for more than a decade. We have forgone billions of dollars worth of investment in our electricity market, because of the policy vacuum that you have created. These are the kinds of debates that are at the very centre of your ideological divide and of the leadership splits that we see taking place today. While you remain trapped in an internal civil war about your own future, what this country really needs is a government focused on the future of Australians.
We in the Labor Party are working hard on our plans to deliver a fair go for all Australians: protecting Medicare, stopping your cuts to hospitals, fully funding our schools and universities, and restoring penalty rates. You are forewarned that, when all we see in your answers to our questions about your internal division is more and more excuses, and more and more division, we will stand ready to deliver for our nation. We have seen in answers to questions a complete unaccountability about what is really going on in government. We asked which members of the coalition front bench had tendered their resignation to the Prime Minister and we were denied answers on that. We don't know which resignations the Prime Minister has accepted. And all we're told now is that it's going to shuffle through in due course with your new announcements. That is no way to govern the country. We have seen that almost half the party room voted against Prime Minister Turnbull. Reports we've seen—and not that the coalition was prepared to discuss this in parliament today when we asked them questions—say that eight members of the ministry offered their resignations.
When it comes to the core policy development taking place in this country, on things like energy, we have been left with a complete policy vacuum. On things like tax cuts to corporations—you've been dogged about this but the simple fact is that you've refused to listen to the Australian people on these questions and you've been left in a position that puts you completely out of touch with the nation's people. It is no wonder that you now find yourself completely riven with internal division, with no place to go. I tell you, Peter Dutton is no alternative and the Australian people know it.
Question agreed to.