Senate debates

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Matters of Public Importance

Morrison Government

4:33 pm

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

While there are rorts, scams, secret bugging, secret recordings, funny money, and cash deals in Aldi bags going on within the Australian Labor Party, they come in here pretending to the Australian people that somehow the Morrison government is not delivering. Here I have a document of 20 pages, with 20 achievements on each page. If you know your numbers, that's about 400 achievements that we can point to. But you would have thought that the Labor Party, having been in opposition now for some seven years, would be using an opportunity such as this to tell the Australian people about their positive forward agenda. No. All we heard was seven minutes worth of criticism, of unrelenting negativity—no alternative plan for the Australian people, no plan for jobs, no reason for the Australian Labor Party to put jobs first.

We in the coalition know that jobs are vital: vital for people's mental health, physical health, self-esteem and social interaction—vitally important. That is why the Prime Minister and the government have said, time and time again: 'Jobs are front and centre of our policy development and our policy delivery.'

But what do the Labor Party do, being confronted with a huge scandal in Victoria? It looks as though it's leaked over from Victoria into the bordering New South Wales. Possibly they should have had border protection between those two states! But Labor in those two states are absolutely wrecked with scandal. What do they come in here to do? They come into this place making false assertions to try to distract attention from the dilemma that they face. So we had the spectre of the would-be Prime Minister of this country addressing CEDA, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, and I think his big-picture vision was that we might have national drivers licences—really big-picture stuff! Visionary! I'm sure that people like Bob Hawke and John Curtin would be thinking: 'If only we could have come up with such a dynamic policy formulation for the future of our nation'!

Why is the Australian Labor Party so bereft of any policies? Because it is so consumed in internal warfare, branch stacking, funny money, Aldi bags—you name it. So, even when the Morrison government is delivering—from a space agency right through to child protection, right across the board—we have the hapless opposition betwixt and between, deciding whether or not they might actually support mandatory sentencing for those that abuse the most precious thing within our community—namely, our children. They agreed with mandatory sentencing for border protection, but not for people who abuse our children, the next generation? Where was the policy thought? Where was the policy formulation? Let alone where was the moral compass in determining that mandatory sentencing should not be part and parcel of the criminal law—especially when you are confronted with the fact that 39 per cent of those convicted of child sex offences weren't sent to jail? It's hard to imagine a more horrific crime, and yet the Labor Party are betwixt and between, not knowing how or why they should be protecting our children, because they're consumed by their internal warfare, their internal hatred, their factionalism—you name it—and so they take their eye off the ball.

If we want to talk about the litany of policy failures, can I remind those opposite that, if you live in a glasshouse, it's very foolish to throw rocks. That of course is what the Australian Labor Party have done with bringing this forward, because, if the Labor Party want to throw rocks at policy failures, I can hear one pane of glass smashing as I mention live cattle exports, another pane of glass smashing as I mention Pink Batts, another pane of glass being smashed when I mention the cash splash to the dead, and so the list goes on. And who could forget Fuelwatch or GROCERYchoice—the list of policy failures? And then, of course, on top of it all was the legacy of deficit and debt, which is a mortgage and an imposition on the next generation of Australians—completely and utterly immoral, in circumstances where you put such a millstone around the neck of the next generation.

So I suppose I'm somewhat gobsmacked at the cheek of the Australian Labor Party to come in here to assert that somehow Mr Morrison has failed to deliver, in circumstances where we have faced a pandemic—a once-in-a-century problem. I think most people recognise that Prime Minister Morrison has handled that exceptionally well, with his bringing together of the national cabinet and dealing with the border closures to protect Australia, before the World Health Organization was even willing to admit that we had a pandemic on our hands and that closing our international borders might be a good idea. Prime Minister Morrison is leading from the front, delivering for the Australian people. All you have to do is a comparison of the death rates. The last time I looked, we had, I think, four deaths per million of population whereas our cousins in the United Kingdom were confronted with 482 per million. There was 100 times the mortality and fatality rate in the UK, yet the Australian Labor Party comes in here and talks about policy failure. Excuse me! With a record like that, the world is looking to Australia, as we speak, asking how it is that we have achieved such a good result. It is through hard policy discussion and delivery and making it happen.


No comments