Senate debates

Wednesday, 7 October 2020


Australian Labor Party

7:35 pm

Photo of Andrew BraggAndrew Bragg (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Labor wants to talk about the 'Morrison recession'. I received an email this morning from Jim Chalmers saying there was a Morrison recession. But of course, that means Mr Chalmers hasn't heard about the coronavirus pandemic which is sweeping the globe. If he had read the budget papers last night, Mr Chalmers would have seen that our economy shrunk by seven per cent in the June quarter. But that compares to a 20 per cent reduction in the UK and a 12 per cent reduction in New Zealand.

So who is Labor's economic team? Let's go through a couple of these very interesting characters. The first is Mr Chalmers. Let's call him 'Tweedle Dee'. He is interested in the leadership. He's breathing down the neck of Mr Albanese. There's a puff piece in The Australian.

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr President, I rise on a point of order.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I anticipate your point of order, Senator McCarthy. I'm going to ask Senator Bragg to withdraw that. We shouldn't refer to people by nicknames like that.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I appreciate that. Thank you.

Photo of Andrew BraggAndrew Bragg (NSW, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This puff piece in TheWeekendAustralian of 6 June says:

In his first speech as an MP he waxed lyrical about his deep local roots, quoting Tennyson that he was 'part of all I have met' growing up in Logan City.

But the schtick does wear thin with others in caucus, who note wryly that the well-trodden path from university to a job in a political office, parliament and the frontbench hardly imbues him with life experience. He works hard at trying to hide that, says one Labor MP—very interesting. Dr Chalmers is the architect of the housing and the retiree taxes from the last election which were voted against by the Australian people. When he worked for Mr Swan, he was the architect of the mining tax.

Dr Chalmers loves the class war. He refers to 'the top end of town' all the time. During the last election, he said it 100 times—and 20 times in one day! One of his icons, Mr Keating, one of my friends, said, 'Labor lost the ability to speak aspirationally to people and to fashion policies to meet these aspirations.' That's very good advice. So where is Dr Chalmers taking his inspiration from? It looks like it's Mr Swan, the chief president of the Labor Party. Chalmers said, 'I was proud to work for him and am one of a few people to know him best.' That's in Glory Daze, which has sold about 713 copies over the last seven years, which is about 100 copies a year. Swan says, 'Labor should stick with new taxes'—so more taxes during a pandemic. It is very concerning that the guy who has never heard of COVID thinks we should take advice from the guy who wants to increase taxes.

We can go on to Mr Jones—is he Dr Jones as well, perhaps? He worked for the ACTU and the CPSU. This man has no idea who he represents. He's not sure whether he's there for the ACTU, the CPSU or industry super. Maybe he is there for the people who elected him, the people of Whitlam. Mr Jones hates the idea that people have been able to access their own money during this pandemic through early access. Jones is good. He runs an outsourced policy model. He rings up his mates at the industry super funds and they write all his policies for him. It's a very efficient way of doing business. The trouble is that he's come a cropper because he's become the boy who cried wolf. Back on 25 March, Jones said, 'We have genuine liquidity concerns in the AFR about the $3 trillion super industry losing $30 billion or $40 billion.' He then went on to use these dodgy numbers from the Industry Super Network, which, according to the corporate regulator, have been massively overstated. Jones is keen on Twitter. He said on Twitter in September that I'm a hypocrite. Apparently I've taken more money from the super industry than anyone else. He said in August that I have literally taken more money from the super industry than anyone else in parliament.

The difference between Mr Jones and I is that, having been elected to this place, I actually take my responsibility very seriously. I'm here to work for the people that have put me in this place, not the people I used to work for. That's the difference between me and him. He wants to run all the lines for the ACTU, which funds his campaigns. By 2030 the super funds will be sending $30 million a year to the ACTU and its constituents. Jones is working hard for these people. He gets very offended when I point this out, but these are the facts. At the end of the day, Mr Jones and Mr Chalmers are not a very strong economic team.

Jones has also said recently that there are 113 members of the coalition party room and it appears most of them aren't interested in Andrew Bragg's plan to destroy superannuation. The good news for him is that the publishers inform me that we've sold 779 copies of Bad Egg: How To Fix Super, and Chalmers has only sold 713 copies of his book, Glory Daze. There we go.