Wednesday, 2 March 2016
On behalf of Senator Wong, I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that 2 March 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the election of the Howard Government in 1996;
(b) recalls the record of the Howard Government, including:
(i) dogs on the waterfront,
(ii) the false claim that children of asylum seekers had been thrown overboard,
(iii) committing Australia to the war in Iraq on a false premise,
(iv) refusing to sign the Kyoto protocol,
(v) regional rorts,
(vi) wheat for weapons,
(vii) the absence of economic reform,
(viii) failing to support the transition of Australia to a republic,
(ix) refusing to say sorry to Indigenous Australians for past wrongs,
(x) its 10 point plan to amend native title legislation following the Wik decision,
(xi) spending over $1 billion on government advertising,
(xii) WorkChoices, and
(xiii) the erosion of decent standards in our public affairs; and
(c) calls on all Australians not to forget the legacy of the Howard Government and its contribution to public policy in this country.
The government opposes the motion—even if I do appreciate the comedic nature of it. Twenty years ago today, John Howard was elected Prime Minister, and his government began the job of building a stronger, more prosperous Australia.
The Howard government led Australia through one of the most successful periods in our history, helping to take Australia to the forefront of the world's leading economies. Its economic policies rebuilt Australian prosperity after yet another period of Labor mismanagement, which had resulted in the worst recession—which, apparently, 'we had to have'—and the highest unemployment in 60 years. Labor's $96 billion government debt was eliminated, and over two million jobs were created.
The economic prosperity achieved by the Howard government meant that people had more money to invest in savings for their future. Australia's strong position allowed the government to invest in new roads and rail, as well as in environmental projects across the country. We pay tribute to John Howard and the enormous contribution of his government to our nation.