Senate debates

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Council of Australian Governments

3:04 pm

Photo of Jenny McAllisterJenny McAllister (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Families and Communities) Share this | Hansard source

Senator Gallacher is correct again—there were no minutes. Close to $½ billion was handed out at that meeting. It was a very effective meeting. There was no oversight or accountability. It was handed out to a group of people with close links to fossil fuel companies and even closer links to the Liberal Party. This is unbelievable.

Is this ransacking the china cabinet on your way out? But this is the thing: there is a bit of a theme here. This is a government that has run out of serious things to do. It has run out of serious policy proposals, so we now find ourselves without a proposal for education. Some have suggested that that's why the COAG meeting wasn't able to go ahead. We find ourselves without an energy policy, even though the coalition for a year has been talking about the significance of energy prices and the industry has been warning the coalition that, without a policy, energy prices will continue to go up.

We find ourselves without any legislation before this chamber. We find ourselves preparing again to debate the address-in-reply to the Governor-General's speech. There is a key to all of this. If you're trying to get a policy up on their side of politics then meetings are no use. This is a group of people who cannot agree on the future direction of this country. It doesn't matter how many meetings they hold, nothing happens. But it is useful for something. If you want to fight a Liberal Party vendetta and if you want to get rid of one of the few women in the lower house, it is useful. If you want to get $½ billion for your mates, as it turned out for this government, a meeting can be very useful. But that's about it.

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