Senate debates

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Matters of Public Importance


6:21 pm

Photo of Lidia ThorpeLidia Thorpe (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I would like to begin by informing the chamber this is not my first speech. I feel a strong need to rise to speak on this matter today. I have only been in this chamber for one day and I'm immediately reminded of how out of touch this government is with everyday people in this country. It didn't take long for the Morrison government to show its true priorities—the millionaires—instead of the millions of people unemployed and struggling in this country. This government is trying to con us into believing that this terrible budget is good for people and for our planet. It is not.

Budgets are about what we value and the kind of country we want to live in. Let me tell you what the Morrison government values: dirty coal, dirty gas, dirty deals, and fracking the Galilee and Beetaloo basins. The Galilee Basin alone is the home of at least 12 distinct First Nations groups who have had an unbroken connection to caring for country for millennia—protection and preserving, not desecrating for profit and power. The Morrison government values giving public money to the Vales Point coal-fired power station, which is owned by a Liberal Party donor. The government values speeding us further into the climate emergency by prioritising fracking and dirty fossil fuels.

The Treasurer finally brought himself to say the words 'climate change' in his speech last night. But in his next breath he announced the government's plans for fracking. It's shameful the Morrison government are telling us all with this budget that they value millionaires more than the rest of us and more than our climate.

Australians yesterday wanted to know how this government would rise to the challenge of looking after people and the planet in the middle of a global crisis. Well, they didn't. This budget could have prioritised full employment, building public homes, growing our renewable energy sector, building high-speed rail and providing free child care and better aged care. We could have given Aboriginal community-controlled organisations the public money they need to continue looking after their communities. But in the worst recession in generations, we're borrowing money to pay for tax cuts for the rich, while people on income support or anyone earning less than $18,000 a year will get nothing. Shame. If we had taken this approach during the Great Depression, we'd still be in it.

The Greens are calling on our fellow senators from Labor and the crossbench to block the worst elements of this terrible trickle-down con job that spends big but spends badly. I'm here to fight for a smart, green recovery that addresses both the COVID crisis and the climate crisis we are in. People who are used to privilege and power in this country are making bad decisions for everyone else.


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