Senate debates

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

G20 Leaders Summit

3:21 pm

Photo of John WilliamsJohn Williams (NSW, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

There's a saying that those in glass houses should never throw stones. I must say, I find Senator Carol Brown's comment about Ms Julia Banks leaving the Liberal Party to sit on the crossbench disappointing, but I wonder where Ms Emma Husar will be sitting next week? I wonder what's going to happen there. The responses to questions in question time was unbelievable. The minority government—yes, I prefer a majority government by far, but what about 2010 when former member for New England, Tony Windsor, and former member for Lyons, Mr Robert Oakeshott, formed a multi-party climate change committee? They were going to change the planet. What did the Prime Minister of the day, Ms Julia Gillard, do? She said, 'There'll be no carbon tax under a government I lead.' And what followed? Nine billion dollars a year of tax growing and growing to change the planet. How outrageous!

Let's get back to the subject of Senator Wong's question. I'll look at some of the facts; I'm sure those opposite will be very keen to hear them. Minister Cormann attended the G20 meeting with his international counterparts in Bali in October. Okay? The Prime Minister will attend the G20 leaders meeting in Argentina, as one would expect for a leaders-level meeting. Finance minister Cormann will accompany the PM, as he did in 2015 in Turkey, as he did in 2016 in China and as he did in 2017 in Germany. Our Prime Minister has attended every G20 leaders meeting while we've been in office. I'll repeat that for those over there in case they're hard of hearing: our PM has attended every G20 leaders meeting while we've been in office.

We're talking about hypocrisy and those living in glass houses, so let's look at Labor's history. When they were in government they didn't even send the Prime Minister to the G20 leaders meetings in June 2010. They sent the Treasurer, Mr Wayne Maxwell Swan. Remember him? He was going to give us all those budget surpluses that we never ever saw. In September 2013 Labor didn't send the Prime Minister. Who did they send? They sent the foreign minister, Bob Carr. Why didn't you send the Prime Minister? This is just amazing. It's any wonder the public says, 'The hypocrisy of politicians.' You've got it all here again today from this question from Senator Wong to Minister Cormann. They're saying, 'Let's throw stones at the other side, but don't look at our side.' Senator Brown was talking about the economy and government's disarray. I'm very proud of the jobs that have been created since this government has been in place and how we support small business.

There were interjections in another question during question time, about the royal commission. I backed the royal commission for many years. I remember a great Western Australian senator by the name of Mark Bishop, but the factions kicked him out, of course. He chaired an inquiry we did into ASIC. We recommended a royal commission. What did Labor do then, in 2014? 'No, no, no, no, we're not having a royal commission.' When the Greens moved a motion in the Senate to have a royal commission into the financial sector, where were Labor? They were sitting over there with Senator Dastyari at the time: 'No, no, no, we're not having a royal commission.' They all teamed up as one. Finally, you did see the light, and the rest is history. Let's hope the royal commission fixes the mess that has been created over many years.

Can I say that it was the government that brought on the royal commission. There's no question about that. I'll tell you why: Nationals member Llew O'Brien said publicly he would back a royal commission, and so did George Christensen, another Nationals member for Queensland. The banks came forward to the government and said: 'Bring it on. The numbers are clearly there.' So the government brought on a royal commission. In that royal commission, we put the terms of reference to include life insurance and superannuation. You would never go near superannuation. You talk about doing the right thing about fines, penalties and criminal charges. When superannuation came in, there were no criminal charges for trustees in superannuation. When we tried to bring those penalties in last September—stiff fines and jail terms—what did you do over there? The Greens and Labor opposed the criminal charges for superannuation fund management and trustees who were stealing and doing the wrong thing. You wouldn't even support that, and you stand up here, holier than thou, saying, 'Where are the penalties?' The penalties are coming forward. We've got them through the House, and you're delaying them here in this chamber. Talk about that word 'hypocrisy'! It's unbelievable. Is it any wonder the public are so cynical? They can see now what you're really made of.

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