Senate debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Answers To Questions

3:39 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

It's a great pleasure for me to rise and take note of answers to questions asked by coalition senators to ministers of the government today. We see more of the same from government ministers—same old Labor, not prepared to take responsibility for their actions, trying to blame somebody else—and we've just seen that in the last contribution, talking about somebody else, about anything but the government. Don't talk about what the government's done. Blame someone else. Deflect. And don't mention anything to do with any of the decisions the government's made, because they're a government of broken promises, and question time today proved that yet again.

We didn't talk about power prices today, although it was mentioned by one of the government ministers that renewable energy's cheaper, and that's why they're going after it. But that doesn't explain why power prices are going up. They promised a $275 cut in power prices, but they're delivering higher. They promised higher real wages, but they're delivering lower real wages. In fact, real wages are not keeping up with the rate of inflation. They promised lower cost of living, but they're delivering higher. They promised lower housing costs, and they're delivering higher. So, this is a government of broken promises. This is a government that promised it would be open and transparent. And what are they delivering? The exact opposite—another broken promise. It's a theme that's developing. The Australian people don't believe them either.

They said we would spend more on space. That's what the now Deputy Prime Minister said we should do: we should spend more on space. What do they do? They secretly cut $1.2 billion from it. We've seen the emails: don't tell the Americans, keep it on the down low, don't let them in on it yet, until the last moment. Again, it's different to what they said before the election. Before the election, this government was saying we should spend more on space, and then they put a sneaky little $1.2 billion cut in the budget and don't tell our most important allies.

Then we come to Qantas—seriously: nine different reasons as to why they can't increase Qatar flights into this country. And what do they want to talk about? They want to talk about Michael McCormack. Now, Michael McCormack did make a decision. He made a decision at a point in time, several years ago. But as Rod Sims, the former head of the competition commission, says, 'If not now, when? 'This is the best time. We're trying to expand the market. We're trying to increase flights into Australia. This is the best time to do it. When is a better time? When? That's the theme from Mr Sims. But of course, no—no transparency. Apparently the trade minister wasn't consulted; the tourism minister wasn't consulted.

Of course, that brings us back to another broken promise, from the tourism minister. The tourism industry were led to believe that they were going to get a huge increase in funding. What does the government do? It cuts $36 million out of the marketing budget for Tourism Australia—$36 million, 20 people gone. So, at a time when the minister claims that we're trying to increase the number of people coming to Australia, nobody's hearing our message. Why? Because the government cuts $36 million out of the marketing budget—another broken promise. The tourism industry thought they were going to get a huge increase in funding but no, they didn't. They weren't told the funding that was going to put into other things was coming out of their own marketing budget, at a time when the minister claims we're trying to increase the number of people coming in. So, what do they do? They cut the marketing budget and they won't let any more aircraft come in. It doesn't sound to me like they're trying to increase tourism into the country. It sounds like they've got a deal going with their airline mates, with Qantas.

And of course, they don't want to answer the question. All they want to do is talk about the coalition and what's happened in the past. (Time expired)


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