Thursday, 23 August 2018
Questions without Notice
Liberal Party Leadership
My question is to the Minister representing the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Scullion. Does the National Party maintain confidence in the Liberal-National coalition government?
Yes, we do, and we do for a very good reason—through you, Mr President. We do because it is the coalition government that will ensure that for the Australian people—and that is what we're all for; it doesn't matter what area of this parliament you're for, you believe in it—we're making this a better place for Australians. Well, I can tell you that any alternative to the National-Liberal coalition will be bad for this country. Can you imagine raising taxes by more than $2 billion? Because that's what the alternative's going to do—more than $2 billion, destroying house prices. We all rely on the equity we have in the Australian dream, in our home. That is looking like it's going down the tube. They're going to raise the superannuation account of every single pensioner. I say to ex-Senator Sherry, behind me: I know you would shudder about that.
Talking about the sorts of things people are concerned about, what about the reopening of our borders? What about the flow, the tsunami, of misery that that will cause? The last time they promised, 'That will never happen,' we went straightaway to measure the number of boats arriving by the day—by the day. That was the unit measurement: how many boats are arriving today? We proudly stand and say, 'None this year, none the year before, none the year before that,' instead of, 'How many was it today? Look, I think it's 14 or 28.' That tide of misery from such pathetic policies, driven by the fundamentalist ideology of the Greens, is something that the Australian people will never take over a sensible and concerned government like the National-Liberal coalition.
Given that the National Party maintains confidence in this broken Liberal-National government, can the minister tell the Senate who the National Party is expressing confidence in? What is their name?
This is about the faith of the Australian people, and I know that the Australian people are going to have much more confidence in the coalition than they have in a Shorten government.
Senator Jacinta Collins interjecting—
Again, there's the introduction of another carbon tax on the back of a 45 per cent emissions target. Which pensioner is going to be able to afford to reach out the finger to switch the light on? Who on a fixed income, on a Centrelink benefit, is going to dare to go and switch the heater on? Just rug up in winter. They all know that it's far better to stay warm under a coalition government than they ever are from that rabble on that side.
Opposition senators interjecting—
I can remember, Senator McCarthy—
Minister, after five years of dysfunction, after adjourning the House of Representatives to avoid public scrutiny, and without a Prime Minister or a functioning government, will the National Party join Labor in calling for an election to allow the Australian people to elect a functioning government?
No, we will not, Mr President, and there are some great reasons for that. The reason we would never support those on the other side is that we would not accept utterances of 'five years of dysfunctional government'. You talk about the million people who have got a job—the million people who have got a job.
Mr President, I suffer from a condition called sensitive ear syndrome, and this is becoming a workplace health and safety issue for me, with the pitch coming from the other side. I'd ask that they tone it down, please.
Senators, that is the second request we've had from a colleague who cannot hear the debate despite being relatively close, so I ask senators to be considerate of their colleagues, even on a day when there is a little more attention on the Senate than normal. Senator Scullion, continue your answer.
My apologies, Mr President, I just didn't hear. We have managed a record infrastructure spend. We have abolished the carbon tax. We have abolished the mining tax. We have restored integrity to our borders. But, most importantly we have invested in Australians. That every one of those million families who have jobs, who can provide certainty for their families and who can provide education for their children can make sure that they are building a better future with confidence is all down to what we have achieved, not any of those vague promises from the other side. This is a great coalition. We'll continue to support it.