Now who is the heat on?

Opinion Poll

OK, I’ll admit it. There’s nothing I’d rather see than Tony Abbott lead the Coalition to an election defeat in September. I want to see the smirk wiped well and truly of his arrogant face. I want to witness the likes of Jones , Ackerman and Bolt unhinging, even more than they are currently unhinged. I want to lap up the greatest dummy spit ever thrust upon us by both the Coalition and their media lap dogs. Yes, it will be sweet.

Up until now they have had a reason to smirk and gloat. Even only a week ago the only way Abbott could lose the election was if he got run over by a bus.

Well I think that bus has come along.

I had giving this post much thought but over at The Political Sword Ad astra summed it up for me and thankfully, robbed me of much more thinking:

We might see parliament recalled to debate legislation to bring forward the date of transition from a price on carbon to an ETS.  If the Greens could be persuaded to go along with this, Slogan-Abbott would lose what he regards as his most important weapon, the carbon tax, as it would already be on the way out.  There is the possibility of the election date being moved into October so as to allow Australia to have highest level representation at the upcoming G20, important because Australia hosts the one after that.

The shift in the polls, the uncertainty about the election date, and the possibility of recalling parliament has to be a worry to Slogan-Abbott and his minders.  Kevin Rudd is already playing with his mind!

Every weapon Abbott has had at his disposal evaporated a few days ago. The man is now vulnerable, especially now that public support is diminishing at a great rate.

If the polls are correct and continue to turn against him and with Rudd the right person to screw with his head, I reckon Abbott might be gone before the election. I couldn’t see a party sticking with a leader who looks like leading that party to an election defeat. Labor made the tough call. Can the Coalition?

A short post, yes, but one where there is so much to consider. What are your thoughts?

What do you think?

Now and again a blogger will make a comment that could easily be a post on its own. It’s the type of comment that could attract a response or a discussion in its own right. I believe that Fed up has provided us with one such example and I take the liberty of reproducing it here. Fed up, for a bit of background, is not a big fan of Kevin Rudd and was not happy about the circumstances surrounding his re-elevation as Prime Minister, but through it all has not had her logic dessert her.

Read what she had to say:

The fact that Rudd now has chance of winning, is not due to any greatness on his part. It will be due to a weak Abbott.

Abbott, from day one believed that he needed no policies. All he had to do was attack Gillard, not Labor, and he would be in the Lodge by Christmas 2010. He said so. Did not care about what he used to attack. Even sexism was brought in.

As that year went on it was becoming clear the woman was not going to lie down and die. Could Abbott see this? No. Thankfully for us, he did not.

His action was to up the ante for the next two years. His only interest in the Parliament was to use it as a vehicle for his daily stunt, leading to a record number of MSSOs: something that all previous Opposition leaders used sparingly. But not once did he move a no confidence motion against Gillard.

He cannot even detail the contents of the legislation passed; the ground breaking reforms.

In the meantime, Gillard got on with good governance that has put in place infrastructure for the future. She has strongly invested in human capital, which will ensure that we are well-placed to to take a leading part in the coming exciting Asian Century. Gillard ignored the noise about her form, even some in her own party and got on with the job. She has left a great legacy indeed.

Now back to Abbott, all he has done since the 2010 continue his dummy spit and kept up the abuse against Gillard. Against Gillard, I would say, and not Labor.

He has created within the community, a hatred for “that woman”.

All Abbott’s energy has been expended in his ambition to bring the PM Gillard down. He seen no seen no need to promote new policies, or even to address those of Gillard’s.

In his mind, Gillard would lay down and die leaving him in the role of caretaker PM, and then off to a very quick election. No time for review of anyone’s policies. He saw Labor as being in disarray and of no consequence. It would be a walk in for him.

That is not the scenario we have. Abbott must be in shock. What he created was hatred for “that woman”. Not for Labor. He did not create any love or respect for himself. Still seen as a bully, that few people now want.

What he did not see, was Gillard focusing on all her policies, getting them into place. The only one she did not get time for, was an answer to the boats.

Suspect we might have seen something new in that regard this week, if she could have survived long enough to go to Indonesia next week.

What he did not see, and many others, that Labor is capable of rearranging itself, to take the moves needed to put themselves in a stronger position.

We have the Labor leader back, that the polls tell us the people wants. That leader has agreed to a tight rein being kept on him by Caucus. Rudd has agreed to the tight rein Caucus has imposed on him.

All Rudd has to do is to sell the strong policies that Gillard has put in place. Most which no one has problems with.

What has Abbott got with Gillard gone? Nothing, absolutely nothing. No polices of worth. A badly flawed asylum policy and the world coming on board, including China and the USA, in relation to carbon emissions.

We still have that strong economy, which with the falling dollar is likely to be even a little bette, before the election

What has Abbott got with “that woman” gone? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He has his flawed slogans to deal with asylum seekers and empty carbon tax warnings.

He has naught.

It was Gillard that he stirred up hatred for, not Labor. It appears they will listen to what Rudd says. Rudd does indeed, thank to Gillard, have a great message to sell.

He will have to do better than turn back the boats and big taxes.

Many do not like what has happened. Is is not fair.

But it just might work, and yes, we do not have to like Rudd, or even thank him. We can leave that to history.

Once again Julia Gillard did not act as Abbott expected. I suspect she is more interested in the policies surviving, than being in the lime light herself. History will also make it judgment on her. I suspect, she will not be found wanting.

All I am trying to do, is make sense of the last few weeks of what is occurring in politics.

What do you think?

English: Kevin Rudd on Novembre 2005. Français...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who gives a darn?


So the Prime Minister likes to knit! Really, who gives a darn? The Daily Telegraph, so it seams (pun intended). But it’s not just knitting, they declare, it is a political move that fails to resonate with the voters.

Silly me. I thought she was just knitting. But no:

In her toughest week, facing sinking opinion polls and soaring opposition, Prime Minister Julia Gillard appears in a women’s magazine knitting a toy kangaroo for the royal baby.

The remarkable image, on sale tomorrow in the latest Australian Women’s Weekly, was not the magazine’s idea.

My goodness, what a scandal! It’s more than just knitting. To quote by lines from the article and photo it’s:

  • PM’s last-stitch bid to win voters.
  • Spins and needles.

And was an:

  • . . . extraordinary image of her knitting was arranged by her chief spin doctor.

What pathetic journalism. But if you think that’s bad, have a read of this opinion piece from the same paper about the same story, fitting snuggly under the heading Out of touch if you pose as PM:

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard makes some unusual choices. Following the 2010 election, Labor’s leader decided to form an alliance with the Greens, which led to an abandonment of her previous pledge not to introduce a carbon tax.

The move has haunted the Prime Minister ever since and is one of the primary reasons for the catastrophic decline in Labor’s electoral support over the past three years.

In opposition, Gillard was the architect of Labor’s more relaxed policy on asylum seekers, which turned out to be another ill-considered decision. Once that policy was put in place early in 2008, it led to a massive surge in asylum seeker arrivals. Subsequent policy revisions have not stemmed the flow.

Now, staring at electoral oblivion and increased pressure on her party leadership, the PM has made another questionable choice.Although it has none of the gravity of policies on carbon emissions or asylum seeker arrivals, Gillard’s decision to pose in an elaborately staged photoshoot for the Women’s Weekly calls into doubt her basic political acumen.

Nobody could possibly have any issue with the Prime Minister personally knitting a toy kangaroo for a royal baby. It’s a sweet gesture.

But just look at how luxurious and over-the-top is that image of our Prime Minister, who posed in a Sydney photographic studio for five full hours in order to achieve the desired look.

Six prime ministerial staffers accompanied her at the photo session, which was the idea of her senior adviser, John McTernan. Consider the public expense, all just to present a positive angle at a time when Ms Gillard’s political stocks are in freefall.

Rather than being positive, the image suggests a prime minister who is completely out of touch with the electorate and who cannot read the public mood. It also supports the view of critics who claim Ms Gillard misunderstands the seriousness of her office.

And somehow it epitomises her stand on that darn ‘carbon tax’.

While the country falls apart because of that killer carbon tax she has the audacity to knit . . . while the media tries to pull the wool over our eyes.

Stop the rot (the media rot)

A message from . . .

Rupert Murdoch, Fairfax, ABC, SBS and all other Australian media outlets: Stop interfering with the democratic process.

The editorial published in The Age on Saturday, June 22 calling on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to step down, has spurred many of us to express our anger and dismay at the way the mainstream media are manipulating the public.

Like many other Australian voters, we believe that we’re living in the most desperate times that Australia as a nation has ever faced. Nothing less than our precious democracy is at stake.

So far, we haven’t taken to the streets, but we will if necessary. Many Australian voters have found it difficult to believe what’s been happening to us, and to our Prime Minister. But the time has come for us to take action to express our anger and disgust and to demand change.

We are no longer prepared to accept that a former Australian billionaire who owns so much of our media, and Newspoll, of course, is lying to us, manipulating us, and using us to further his own interests. And that the rest of the mainstream media, including the taxpayer-funded ABC, has fallen into step with the Murdoch media.

We are no longer prepared to accept the blatant bias of the mainstream media. We are not prepared to accept television and radio interviewers refusing to allow both the government and the opposition to spell out their policies.

We have had enough of the colossal cheek of interviewers preventing Labor spokespeople from talking about anything other than the leadership, as happened on the 7.30 Report last week, and then being told, as we were in The Age editorial: ‘The Age’s overriding concern is that under Ms Gillard’s leadership, the Labor Party’s message about its future policies and vision for Australia is not getting through to the electorate. Our fear is that if there is no change in Labor leadership before the September 14 election, voters will be denied a proper contest of ideas and policies – and that would be a travesty for the democratic process.’

The travesty rests squarely and heavily on your shoulders – it is of your own creation. How dare you treat the Prime Minister in this way, and then try to blame her for your own behavior?

Why is the message not getting through the media to the voters? Why are you refusing to allow it? Why are you creating doubts about the Labor leadership? Why are you not asking the opposition the tough questions? Who are these unnamed sources? Where are these leaked internal polls?

We could mention uncountable other examples of behavior from the mainstream media that we are no longer prepared to tolerate. It is not OK to treat anyone in the way our PM and the Labor-led minority government has been treated.

So, we, ordinary Australians, request that the management of Fairfax, the Murdoch press, SBS, the ABC and all other media outlets insist that their journalists commence demonstrating the professional qualities required to truthfully inform the people of Australia of issues impacting on ordinary Australians.

In particular, we insist that:
• The media discontinue its creation of news as opposed to the reporting of news.
• The media immediately commence reporting on the policies (or lack thereof) of the Government and the Opposition to allow Australians to have an informed vote.
• You get your hands off our democracy. No more interference in the democratic process.
• You cease and desist from allowing the Prime Minister to be demeaned and trivialized in the media.

If you want to help stop the rot: sign here.


The Faceless Men of the Liberal Party

Frances Jones

By Father Kevin Lee

OK I know people reading this are going to say, “He is suffering from ‘sour grapes,’ but please try to understand. It’s like when you are in love with someone you overlook their flaws (even though you recognise them) and you can become despised enemies after you discover attributes you didn’t realise the other had. My position has changed due to discoveries I never anticipated. So reserve your judgment of me until you read the whole story.

I was a priest for twenty years and was always led to believe that separation of the Church and State was like two parallel lines that never meet, but I was soon to find out that like the celibate clergy, it’s a truth in terms of policy position only, it is not true in fact.

I discovered this painfully in my last parish, Glenmore Park.

In our community was…

View original post 9,753 more words

The NBN: worth voting for

The Australian Independent Media Network

NBN Logo

We’ve heard every argument for and against the National Broadband Network (NBN) from the moment it was launched. It’s fairly blatant that those who oppose it do so for political reasons, whereas the most vocal support in favour of it comes from industry experts down to just about everyone who knows how to turn on a computer. That’s an argument that has been debated fiercely since the launch of the Liberal Party’s broadband plan – considered by everyone bar Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull to be a dud – but with the strong likelihood of an Abbott victory in September we look like inheriting a dud, in more ways than one.

This speech in Parliament by Independent MP Rob Oakeshott on 19 June represents one of the best arguments I’ve heard in favour of keeping the NBN plan rolled out by the Labor Government. His message no doubt fell on…

View original post 1,950 more words

Toxic Tony


Tony Abbott will go down as the most toxic Leader of the Opposition in Australian Parliamentary history.

He’s responsible for every sitting day of this Parliament descending into absolute balderdash and poison, as he attempted, day after day after day to bring the Government down. He’s tried every ghastly ploy he can muster to bend the Parliament and the media and the Australian public to his personal maniacal viewpoint: that he is the rightful leader of Australia, thwarted as he was by a mere woman – a lying, evil witch though she is.

Australia now deserves this dangerous bastard of a man, we’ve earned him and his psycho crew. We’ve given in to our xenophobia, our distrust and hatred of powerful women, and our fear. We win the fruits of our labour. We should be proud of ourselves.

His every word is a twist of the truth . . . He’s the complete liar. And yet he’s made it look like it’s the Prime Minister who’s the real liar.

Thanks to CN for the above (via Facebook). His comment sums up what a lot of people think of Tony Abbott and it speaks the absolute truth. Thank goodness there are forums available that allow us to put forward opinions that are a ‘no go zone’ in the mainstream media. His comment – as you can see – is worthy of a post on its own.

Matters of public importance

With thanks to Open Australia here are the Hansard transcripts from 18 June on Tony Abbott’s matter of importance. Enjoy.

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Speaker)

I have received a letter from the honourable the Leader of the Opposition proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

The urgent need for stable government to build a stronger economy for all Australians.

I call upon those honourable members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places.

More than the number of members required by the standing orders having risen in their places—

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition)

With the standing of the government and respect for this parliament at near record lows I regret to say that this parliament, the parliament now drawing to its close, has been a low and dishonourable one.

At the beginning of the life of the current government, the Prime Minister stood and said to the Australian public that she would be:

… faithful to the trust that has been extended to us.

In 88 days time the public will finally have their chance to pass judgement on just how the Prime Minister has been faithful to the trust that was placed in her. I suspect that that will be a critical judgement because, wherever you look, this is a parliament which has let down the Australian people and a government which has betrayed the trust that the people extended to it—only just, nevertheless, they did extend to it—at the last election.

There is the carbon tax that was never going to happen, which did happen. There was the surplus—the ‘no ifs, no buts surplus’—that would happen come hell or high water and that has never happened. Instead, we have a debt that is now racing towards $340 billion. There is the mining tax, which has achieved the extraordinary outcome of damaging investment, damaging confidence and employment, without actually raising any revenue.

There was the live cattle ban, in panic at a television program—perhaps the most disastrous decision ever taken towards one of our near and important neighbours in our country’s history. There was the political execution of an excellent Speaker because it suited the political convenience of the Prime Minister. We have had three leadership challenges in three years. We have had the protection racket that has been extended towards the member for Dobell by a Prime Minister only too familiar with the operation of union slush funds—

Photo of Nicola RoxonNicola Roxon (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party)

Speaker, I rise on a point of order. You have ruled before that that language is not appropriate to be used with regard to the conduct of the Prime Minister in relation to the member for Dobell. I ask that the member withdraw.

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Speaker)

The Leader of the Opposition has the call but I will advise that, as the member for Gellibrand rightly points out, the language has been asked to be withdrawn. I am not going to do it on this occasion, but I will be mindful of other words in the member’s statement.

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition)

I appreciate your forbearance, Madam Speaker. There was the Australia Day riot, which turned out to have been orchestrated out of the Prime Minister’s office. But, above all else, there was the failure that will haunt the memory of this parliament and this government: the ongoing disaster on our borders, a disaster that the Prime Minister promised to fix on 24 June 2010.

We have had almost 45,000 illegal arrivals by boat—more than the population of Gladstone, more than the population of Coffs Harbour, more than the population of Shepparton and more than the population of Mount Gambier. No-one wants to see any Australian government fail. No-one wants to see any Australian government give up on governing but that, I regret to say, is what this government has done.

We have 88 days until the election. The people will then have their chance to pass judgement on this government. They will have a choice between an incompetent and untrustworthy government and a coalition that will stop the boats, that will repeal the carbon tax and that will get the budget back into the black. That is the pledge that we make to the Australian people and that is a pledge that we will honour.

As things stand, the Australian people are frustrated and angry. They are frustrated and angry with a government that has let them down and a government that has repeatedly betrayed them. Indeed, Labor people—decent, honourable Labor people—are embarrassed and even ashamed at the performance of this government. I am pleased that the member for Hotham has stayed in the House to listen to this MPI, because the member for Hotham called it for Australia. That is what he did: he called it for Australia when he said he could no longer serve on this Prime Minister’s frontbench. I regret to say that this particular government is now beyond cure. This particular government is now past the point of no return. The poison is so deep, the division and dysfunction so deep that there is nothing that can save the contemporary Labor Party except time out to decide what it actually stands for and what it now believes.

The Australian people are an optimistic people. We know that better times can come. We know that better times are ahead of us but what we need is a government that you can trust and a government that is competent to deliver effective administration. I want to say to the Australian people: I am proud of the team that I lead. I am proud of the fact that the team I lead is representative of the breadth and depth of the Australian people. I am confident that there would actually be more former tradesmen on this side of the parliament these days than on that side of the parliament. I am proud of the fact that the first Indigenous member of the House of Representatives is sitting on this side of the parliament for the Liberal Party. I am proud of the fact that, if every coalition candidate in this election were to come to this parliament, the most common name in the Liberal Party party room would be Nguyen. It is a sign of just how much the modern Liberal Party is standing foursquare with the decent people of our country.

I know that our team is ready to form a stable and competent government. My team does not need to learn on the job, because my team has done the job before. Sixteen members of the shadow cabinet were ministers in a government that did stop the boats, that did bring the budget back into the black, that did get taxes down, that did abolish unnecessary taxes. We have done it before and we will do it again. We understand in the marrow of our bones that you cannot have a strong society, you cannot have strong communities without a strong economy to sustain them, and a strong economy pivotally depends upon profitable private businesses. We understand this. We get this. We know that it is not government that creates wealth; it is business that creates wealth. No government has ever taxed a country into prosperity. Plenty of governments have taxed a country into the ground. Not one has ever taxed a country into prosperity.

So our economic plan starts with abolishing the carbon tax and the mining tax. We will cut red tape. We will boost productivity so that the creative businesspeople of this country can get a fair go to survive and prosper, and so the workers of Australia can get a fair go to keep their jobs and to prosper. A strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia—that is how this coalition will deliver hope, reward and opportunity should we be entrusted with the government of this country in 88 days time. We will relieve the pressure on families. We will relieve the pressure that we know the families and households of Australia are under. Under us they will keep the tax cuts and pension and benefit rises, but they will most assuredly lose the carbon tax.

This is not just about creating a richer country; it is about creating a better country too. What I want to achieve—what my team wants to achieve—is giving the Australian people confidence that we can come closer to being our best selves. We are all conservationists now. That is why I want direct action to improve our environment, not a great big new tax that will clobber the economy without actually reducing our emissions. As well as an emissions reduction fund for more trees, better soils and smarter technology, there will be a green army 15,000 strong marching to the help of our degraded land and waterways. Anyone who looks at our country knows that land care needs more than the largely volunteer efforts of farmers and of understaffed local councils. We will give our country the workforce it needs if our remnant bushland is to survive and if our creeks are to run clean. We will give idealistic young people and older people a way to turn their environmental commitment into practical action so that our gift to the future will be a country in better shape than that which we inherited.

Should the coalition win the election, I will continue my practice of spending a week a year as a volunteer in a remote Indigenous community. If people are expected to live there, a Prime Minister should be prepared to stay there and senior public servants should be prepared to stay there too. Nothing would focus people’s minds more on the issues of remote Australia than conducting the government from there even if it is only for a week. I do not underestimate the challenges of crafting an Indigenous recognition amendment that will be an advance for Aboriginal people without creating two classes of Australian. No, I do not underestimate the difficulty of this challenge; but, should there be a change of government on 14 September, we will persevere and get this right. In so doing, this nation of ours—this great nation—will finally be made whole.

Everyone knows that I am a late convert to the cause of a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme. I am a late convert, but I tell you I have a convert’s zeal. Why should people get their full pay while on holiday and on sick leave and just a welfare wage while on parental leave? If blokes had babies, this never would have been tolerated. I did not always understand this, but I do now. A fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme is an important economic reform. It is good for population, it is good for productivity, it is good for participation—in fact, all three of the Ps which economic strength requires. Most of all, a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme is an issue of justice—justice for the women of our country that will finally be delivered under a coalition government.

I know I surprised people three years ago with this commitment to a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme, but serious people do have the capacity to grow and I am pleased to say that I understand this issue much better now than I did a decade ago. I have learnt from watching the example of good leaders—people like Bob Hawke as well as John Howard, who made the transition from tribal chief to national leader. I understand that a Prime Minister should never set out to deliberately divide one Australian from another, as we have seen in this current parliament. A Prime Minister should never think that he or she is somehow bigger than the party or the country. Prime ministers must always be the servants of their party and, above all else, the servants of their country.

Finally, should there be a change of government on 14 September, this parliament must be a better place. There has been too much venom and too many baseless accusations of bad faith—and I suspect we might even have a few in a few moments. We are better than that, and I hope to have a chance to demonstrate that we are better than that. After 14 September I am confident that the people of Australia will be able to have more pride in their parliament. (Time expired)

Photo of Craig EmersonCraig Emerson (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Trade and Competitiveness)I have now heard it all and I have been in this parliament for 15 years. For the Leader of the Opposition to complain that there has been too much venom in this parliament, while the coalition spits venom across the table on a daily basis, is the height of hypocrisy. This is a man who said he wanted a kinder, gentler parliament and then set about systematically to try to destroy the reputation of this parliament. He tried to destroy the reputation of this parliament to create a sense of chaos every day in an economy and in a society that has actually been going pretty well.The objective evidence of that is actually provided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which only a few weeks ago completed its analysis and released it publicly. On a range of 11 different indicators—not only economic indicators but also quality of life indicators, such as longevity and sense of community—where do you reckon Australia came? No. 1 in the world; Australia is the best country in the world. But you would not have known it from this coalition after the last 2½ years, because they have spent every day in this parliament spitting venom and trying to trash talk the economy in the hope that, although it would cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Australian jobs, it might advance their own pathetic, personal ambitions. That is what has happened in this parliament. The interests of the coalition and their ambitions to climb up the ladder have stood and ranked above those of the everyday Australians who we are here to represent.This is a matter of public importance debate about the strength of the economy. Now let us go to the strength of the Australian economy. The OECD projects that in the coming two years we will grow faster than any major, advanced country on earth. When we came to government, the Reserve Bank cash rate was 6¾ per cent; it is now 2¾ per cent. That is such a large reduction in interest rates that it is saving an average household with a mortgage of $300,000 at least $5,000 a year. That is unambiguously good news for mortgage holders and also for small businesses. Why have interest rates been able to fall? Because inflation is contained. The Reserve Bank is an inflation-targeting reserve bank and it has been comfortable with the inflation rate under this government. Compare that with the inflation rate and the interest rate performance of the previous coalition government, of which the Leader of the Opposition was a cabinet minister: after the 2004 election, when John Howard promised to keep interest rates at record lows, they went up 10 times because inflation went up. The Reserve Bank’s arm was forced because the previous coalition refused to invest in skills, refused to invest in the education of our young people and refused to invest in infrastructure.All of those investments are now taking place under the Gillard Labor government. We have eased those capacity constraints and as a consequence of that we have had very strong growth compared with all major advanced countries at a time when 28 million jobs were lost around the world because of a global financial crisis—a debate through which the Leader of the Opposition slept—which senior members of the coalition now claim did not exist: ‘It was a little blip in the Northern Hemisphere.’ Through that period, when 28 million jobs were lost through a so-called ‘blip’ in the Northern Hemisphere, 961,000 jobs had been created in Australia because the Labor government puts jobs first. That is in our DNA. We were created as a political party to advance the interests of the working men and women of Australia, and we stood up for the working men and women of Australia during the global financial crisis, which became the deepest global recession since the Great Depression.The truth is the former opposition leader at least provided some support for our stimulus package, but the present opposition leader has senior frontbenchers, such as the Manager of Opposition Business, saying, ‘A coalition government would never have gone into deficit.’ Confronted with a write-down, a reduction, in expected revenues of $180 billion, the prescription of the Leader of the Opposition’s team would be to match it with cuts of $180 billion. That would deliver in Australia, over that time, a deep and prolonged recession. But that was not just a mistaken quote from the Manager of Opposition Business. The shadow Attorney-General said the same thing. That it should never have gone into debt.What did the Leader of the Opposition say? He said, ‘I cannot see what was wrong with the New Zealand response to the global financial crisis.’ Well, I can tell you what was wrong with it—a recession lasting more than a year. But the opposition do not mind recessions because they focus the attention, as far as the coalition is concerned, of the workers on their jobs so that they are good compliant workers because they are fearful every day of losing their jobs and worry if they can ever get one during a recession and its aftermath.The indicators of a strong economy are the AAA rating of the Australian economy not by one or two but all three international ratings agencies. That is a gold standard assessment, yet we have the coalition every day in the parliament saying the economy is a disaster and a mess. Their policy prescriptions are a worry if the diagnosis from the coalition is that the economy is in an emergency situation and a mess, notwithstanding that we have inflation contained, interest rates down, a AAA rating and growth stronger than every major advanced country. They say that is an emergency.When that is the prescription and the diagnosis, what is their policy? We know what their policy is. Their policy is to cut to the bone. They believe that we should never have had debt in this country. They think that, if they get into government, the objective is to race for a surplus. How do you race for a surplus? By cutting jobs and services. We know already that they have promised to cut 20,000 jobs in this country. They have also said that they will cut services. They will cut Medicare Locals and they will cut GP superclinics. They will cut the services on which the Australian people rely. We know some of that, but we do not know all of it. The reason we do not know all is that the mechanism that they have already announced is a commission of audit, otherwise described by the Treasurer as a commission of cuts.There is form for this. We can check the form guide. Not only has Campbell Newman in Queensland used this device to conceal from the Queensland people the extent of the savagery of the cuts from which the people of Queensland are still reeling but the previous Howard government did the same thing. After the 1996 election, instead of laying out what they were going to do if they were elected, they had a commission of audit. What did they do? They cut training. They cut the vital services that were so important—TAFE funding—and we are only just recovering from those savage cuts. They lacked the courage to tell the Australian people and now what is the Leader of the Opposition—the big he-man who says, ‘Look at me’—doing? He is hiding behind the commission of cuts. If he is elected, he is going to use exactly the same device as Campbell Newman. Campbell Newman’s cuts are but the curtain-raiser to the cuts that the Leader of the Opposition would implement. Why? Because the shadow Treasurer has said that we are in an emergency. He has said economic growth is flatlining at trend. This is a new concept. This is the level of economic literacy. No wonder the Leader of the Opposition has been described as economically innumerate and illiterate.

A government member: Who said that?

It was actually Professor John Hewson and Peter Costello. They would know a thing about it because they have been in shadow cabinet with the guy. He was employed by Professor John Hewson. He knows the form of the Leader of the Opposition very well. I will tell you who knows it even better and that is former Treasurer Peter Costello. They described the Leader of the Opposition as economically illiterate and innumerate. But his diagnosis is that the economy is in an emergency situation. Why? Because of flatlining at trend. You cannot believe the economic incompetence of these people in the coalition. So they say, ‘We need a commission of audit.’ But we have been able to ascertain a few of the decisions that they have made.

We have coalition members of parliament writing to our minister for families saying: ‘Some of our families are missing out on the schoolkids bonus. What are you going to do about it?’ For goodness sake, write to the Leader of the Opposition and ask him what he is going to do about it. He has a sense of equity. There will not only be a few who miss out on the schoolkids bonus. He is going to be fair. Everyone misses out on the bonus because it is going to be axed. That is $15,000 for two kids over the lifetime at school of those kids. That is $15,000 ripped out of families trying to send kids to school and getting a bit of support from us to do so.

Wait, there is more! We have had a debate about superannuation in this parliament for about 20 years. The defining feature of superannuation is that Labor introduced compulsory superannuation to extend it to the men and women of Australia for universal retirement income. The defining feature of this coalition is they have opposed every single increase in superannuation that has been implemented by a Labor government. The shadow Treasurer went public and said, ‘We support the legislation to increase superannuation from nine to 12 per cent.’ That is blatantly untrue. They came in here and voted against it. Worse than that, not only did they oppose abolishing the superannuation contributions tax for people on low incomes, part-timers, students—mostly women—but they have promised to reimpose it. We have here in the parliament a speech by the Leader of the Opposition saying: Look at us. We are the party of lower taxes.’ The party that has a policy to increase taxes is the Liberal Party. It has promised to reimpose a 15 per cent contributions tax on 3.6 million low-income, vulnerable Australians—casuals, part-timers, mostly women—and it says it is the low-tax party!

What else are they doing on the tax front? They actually opposed the reduction in the company income tax from 30 per cent to 29 per cent, which ended up, because we could not get it through, funding the schoolkids bonus, which they are going to axe if they get elected. What else are they doing? There is that great big new tax on everything you buy, their paid parental leave. Their gold-plated paid parental leave: a 1½ per cent increase in the company tax rate and the Leader of the Opposition said: ‘Coles, Woolies, the banks and the petrol companies will absorb that. They won’t pass that on. They’re the good guys; they won’t do that.’ Of course they will. In fact, the banking industry is complaining because they are saying they will pass it on, so everyone will pay for this gold-plated paid parental leave scheme with increased taxation. And the Leader of the Opposition said, on climate change, ‘We’ll get rid of the carbon price and we’ll put in this kind of like costless direct action plan.’ Costless? At $1,300 per household! That is an increase in taxes. No wonder they call him economically illiterate. That is an increase in taxes.

The truth is it is not just a philosophical divide between Labor and the coalition; it is a chasm. You have Labor, which has presided over a resilient economy, which has reached out to people, making sure that no-one is left behind—a middle of the road party—and you have an opposition leader, who has dragged the Liberal Party to the hard Right, a party which has promised, with great zeal, that if it got elected it would scrap the national school improvement plan because it does not believe that every young Australian deserves a great education. From our hearts, that is what we believe in, that is what we have fought for. And the coalition is saying to state premiers, ‘Don’t do that, because our ambitious, our plans are more important than theirs.’ It is a complete disgrace.

Photo of Warren TrussWarren Truss (Wide Bay, National Party, Leader of the Nationals)

Just 88 days to go. Just 88 days for the people to decide whether this government deserves another term or whether they have had enough. It seems to me, as I walk around Australia and talk to voters, they are looking forward to 14 September just like children are looking forward to Christmas. They have had enough. For almost three years this government has fallen further and further into the mire and the moral abyss. The Prime Minister drank the Kool-Aid that the Greens had served up, and she accepted the poisoned chalice of the new paradigm from the members for New England and Lyne, and set about establishing this government. These colleagues, the Greens and the Independents, have been with Labor through every stumble, through every misstep along the way over the past three years. As this incompetent government lurched from one disaster to another, the Greens and the Independents were there with them, propping them up. Their full-throated support for the carbon tax and all of Labor’s legacy fiascos has reduced them to an echo of this Prime Minister and the people have stopped listening to all of them.

At what point during these three years did it first occur to the Prime Minister to go back on her solemn promise to the Australian people that there would be no carbon tax under a government she led? Was it seconds or just milliseconds? Was it even a consideration? Did her word ever matter to her? She lost the trust of the people of Australia in her very first days after the last election. Did she ever give a thought to the rank betrayal that she was inflicting on the entire nation? No, her political survival was always at the top. Honour and integrity have had no role in the life of this government and the Australian people have endured an endless chain of bungles, scandals, backroom deals and lost opportunities.

The national accounts show that this government has squandered the resources boom. Labor headlined its previous two budgets as spreading the proceeds of the boom and then set about spending the money that it expected to be raised over the years ahead. But in fact the boom has not come. Labor busted the boom before it even existed with its ill-considered new taxes and incompetent policies. This budget was something different. It forgot about sharing the proceeds of the boom. We were told it was a budget that was about growth and jobs, except it was predicted to have lower growth than the previous year and higher unemployment. So the very objectives that the Labor Party set for itself in its budget were in fact shattered by its own predictions for the year ahead. The truth is businesses are cutting investment, and that means lost opportunity. Consumers are not spending, and that means fewer jobs.

Our domestic economy is going backwards with just paper thin growth, just over 0.6 per cent—and, frankly, we would not have had that if confidence was not so low that imports have been declining. At the heart of what is afflicting our nation is a debilitating case of despair. I think of the words of Cameron Clyne, chief executive of the National Australia Bank, when he said that there is a ‘bias towards pessimism’ among the business community. He said:

We have a national mood of gloom …

Well, if the head of a bank thinks things are gloomy, what do their customers think? If the banks are worried, how can small businesses ever hope to succeed? We could call the Treasurer’s Fix-o-Gram to find a solution. You will not find any fixes in the budget; you just have to subscribe to his app Fix-o-Gram. Unfortunately, this government has been too much about fixes over the years—deals, fixes—but no solutions to the issues confronting the Australian people.

The lack of confidence that this government inspires spreads throughout the business community and households really like a cancer. Their record is of failure and of ineptitude, of a people incapable of governing let alone in the national interest. They are unable to govern themselves. Here we are, only 88 days away from an election, and we still do not know who the Prime Minister is going to be on that day. Is it going to be the Rudd-Gillard government or is it going to be the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government? We have another few days and so it might be the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd-Gillard-Rudd-Gillard government. This is because Labor cannot even make up their own minds about who should be their leader. How can the public have any confidence in that kind of rabble?

Is it former Prime Minister Rudd who failed on border protection or is it Prime Minister Gillard, who on election promised to fix it? Should we be holding former Prime Minister Rudd to account for the failed mining tax or should we be holding to account Prime Minister Gillard, who promised to fix it and did not do it? Should we be holding the Prime Minister to account for the carbon tax that she promised to fix? Or do we hold the inventor of the tax, former Prime Minister Rudd, to blame for all of these debacles?

An opposition member: Both!

Yes, as I have just heard, they have both failed. They have both failed their party and, more importantly, they have both failed the Australian people. There are so many examples of failure: the carbon tax that the Prime Minister said in government she would not deliver; the supposed community consensus before any action would be taken on climate policy; a people’s assembly to build that consensus. These are all government election promises and they have just disappeared. There are the secret deals with the big three miners, who carved themselves out of the mining tax and left the small miners to carry the can; the roof batts program that burnt down people’s houses; the overpriced school halls; and GroceryWatch and Fuelwatch that never got off the ground. Now we have, of course, ‘asbestos watch’ while the NBN continues to squander the nation’s savings. The NBN itself is an example of a $90 billion white elephant which no-one is signing up to. Clearly, there are more years of costly delays ahead. They gave Telstra $11 billion to stop using their own perfectly functional network and they have got nothing much to replace it with.

Take the private health insurance rebates that Labor swore were part of the family budget and as such were guaranteed would remain untouched. In almost every budget Labor have sought to reduce the private health insurance rebates. They have offered to take five asylum seekers from Malaysia for every one person sent by them: ‘Hey, we’ve got 44,000! How many are you going to take?’

Opposition members interjecting

Yes, this is a good deal for Tom Waterhouse! Of course, there was the mining tax that collected only 10 per cent of what was expected and the near destruction of Australia’s northern beef industry because of a panicked overreaction to a television program. On this government’s watch a manufacturing job in Australia has been axed every 20 minutes. How is that for the party for jobs? Now we have got Ford, after being given $34 million to save jobs, closing its plant down. What about the future of Simplot and SPC, the last of our major food-processing establishments in this country? Labor has no answer. It is doing nothing for employers and it is doing nothing for employees as factories close down one after the other.

There has to be a change. We do need to have a government that has actually got a plan, a vision, for our country. All this would be laughable if it were not so insulting to the people of Australia. In 88 days the people will decide whether they want this tragic soap opera as a rerun or they want a change, a coalition government that has a plan to bring the budget into balance and to start paying down Labor’s runaway debt. Abolishing the carbon tax is a positive action to reduce costs for families and businesses, as is abolishing the mining tax, cutting red tape by $1 billion a year to give small business the relief that they need, or creating two million new jobs. We will cut the green tape and will have a no-nonsense, one-stop shop to fast-track approvals. Our plan provides families with the surety that they need to be confident for their future. We have the experience. We have the record. We have done this before. We have created these jobs and we will make sure that Australia grows— (Time expired)
Photo of Graham PerrettGraham Perrett (Moreton, Australian Labor Party)

I rise to speak on this MPI, having listened to the member for Wide Bay‘s contribution—and, unfortunately, it is a bit of my life that I will never get back—but I was looking for him to be a bit fair dinkum. As he is a Queenslander, I thought he might have touched on a couple of the significant things about stable government. I thought that, rather than talk about his dream of two million jobs, he would have spoken about the 960,000 jobs that have actually been created since he has been sitting on that side of the chamber. So I thought he would have spoken about that. I thought that perhaps he, as a world-travelling man—and I have travelled overseas with the member for Wide Bay—he might have touched on what conditions were like around Europe. We have 5.5 per cent unemployment—and it went down last month—but you can look at places in Europe where it is 11.9 per cent. There are places in Spain where one in two young people are unemployed. I thought he might have mentioned that because he does come from a part of Queensland that has higher unemployment. So I thought that as a Queenslander he might have mentioned that.

I thought he might have mentioned how proud he was to be in a nation that has a AAA credit rating from all three ratings agencies. I thought he would have been bipartisan enough to say that that is a good thing, but he forgot to mention it. Only eight countries of 200 particular countries around the world have this status. That is an empirical fact. That is not a press release; that is an empirical fact from the ratings agencies. Since he moved to that side of the chamber, how have we performed in terms of the size of our economy? He talks about doom and gloom and the need for stability. We have changed from being the 15th biggest economy in the world. We have moved up to being the 12th biggest economy in the world. I thought he would have said, from pure pride as an Australian, that he is proud—but no mention of that. And it has happened six times faster than those powerhouse countries like Germany or the megacountries like the United States.

He did not mention the global financial crisis. That two years has been taken out of the LNP history books. It is almost a Goebbels-type experiment in removing things from history: ‘This did not occur.’ The reality is we did have a global financial crisis. You look around the world and see the results of that and how they are still flowing through—how homes have been destroyed, how jobs have been destroyed, how whole communities have been destroyed by the impact of the global financial crisis. Under the Labor government, under Prime Minister Rudd and Prime Minister Gillard, we have steered through with a focus on jobs. That is the reality that I thought the member for Wide Bay would have touched on. That is the reality I thought the Leader of the Opposition would have touched on. The Leader of the Opposition understands these facts. I think he has a degree in economics. I thought he would have been aware of this.

The reality is the world has changed for those on that side of the chamber on two significant dates. Obviously, 24 November 2007 was a tough day for many of them when they got thrown out of government by the people of Australia. That was tough and some of them have never recovered. We churned through a couple of leaders—not deputy leaders, we still have a deputy leader who has loyally served three different leaders. We went through Brendan Nelson and the member for Wentworth and then moved on to the member for Warringah.

Then there was 1 December 2009—and didn’t the world change for that side of parliament from that day onwards? I have only been a member of parliament since 24 November 2007, so I can only see it through that prism. I have had two parliaments to see it through—the 42nd Parliament and the 43rd Parliament. That is what my observations are based on. Remember 1 December 2009, when the Leader of the Opposition was wholeheartedly endorsed by his party room by one vote, with one spoiled ballot and one absent vote? But for that moment in history, the history of Australia could have been changed perhaps.

Then we go through to the election day and those 17 days of desperate negotiations from the Leader of the Opposition, where he was prepared to do anything. He made that clear. He made the call to the member for New England, saying, ‘I will do anything.’ I think he made it very clear as to what he would do to grab power. He was happy to have power without glory. That has been the journey ever since.

Let us look at what has gone on in the 43rd Parliament in particular. As I said, I am comparing the 42nd and 43rd parliaments. Let us look at some of the little things that have happened around this place under the Leader of the Opposition. First a simple little thing. Apparently the Leader of the Opposition when he was in government used to play touch football every morning. The member for Rankin used to play—

Dr Emerson interjecting

I think the member for Rankin might be misleading the parliament there!

Photo of Craig EmersonCraig Emerson (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Trade and Competitiveness)

But not deliberately!

Photo of Graham PerrettGraham Perrett (Moreton, Australian Labor Party)

But not deliberately. It was a very harmonious place, where people, irrespective of the party they came from, would go down and play touch football together. From 24 November the member for Warringah said he would not play touch football anymore. Then in the 43rd Parliament it changed again. He has actually frowned upon people even playing touch football together. So that has evaporated.

What are the other things? I notice a member from the Labor Party on the Speakers’ panel. The member for Warringah said, ‘No member of the Liberal and National parties will be a member of the Speaker’s panel, apart from the member for Maranoa.’ He ordered that they would not contribute to the democratic process, thus on one level saying, ‘We support the democratic process,’ but on the very other giving specific direction that undermines the political process.

Let us look at some of those other white-anting processes—not just removing people from the panel and not just removing people from participating in sports but saying no to everything in the legislative program. If you look at the percentage of votes in the 42nd Parliament where we had unanimous support from the parliament compared to the 43rd Parliament, it has gone down 10 per cent to 15 per cent. All those common-sense pieces of legislation that parliament just grinds out, irrespective of who is in power—which parties are on which side of the chamber—the member for Warringah has made it specific, has made it clear, has given directions to the Liberal and National parties that ‘No!’ is the starting point for any piece of legislation and then negotiations occur from there. What are the ramifications of that? That means that someone who has a sick child cannot even get a pair to go and see their kid. He has been white-anting democracy throughout—ever since 1 December but particularly since that election in 2010.

Why is that so? Maybe he has to examine his own soul in terms of the trap that he has laid for Australian democracy. Because he has such a naked desire to grab power at any cost, he has betrayed Australian democracy. Maybe that is something that happens. We are not dissimilar in age. Maybe as he is getting on in years he thinks: ‘This is my chance. This is the time for me to make a mark on the world stage or the Australian stage’—or whatever stage he thinks he is strutting on. The reality is that he is prepared to do anything and bring down Australian democracy in that process—and to do so in a way which is so hypocritical. On the one hand he says, ‘Oh, no, we are very bipartisan,’ but at the very same time he is putting dog whistles out there in the community, sending out his spear throwers to attack great Australian institutions like the Public Service. Things that are normally supported in a bipartisan approach, this member for Warringah has undermined. He has undermined those democratic processes.

We all know that saying about power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely. That is what we are staring at—the fact that we might be contemplating on 14 September. Imagine a leader of the government, a leader of this nation, who is prepared to do anything to gain power. If you do not have the moral compass, if you do not have a soul that dictates what you do, then you are a rudderless person. You are unable to make the correct decision, the moral decision, the right decision—the decision in the nation’s interest. This ‘hate song of J Alfred Prufrock’ that we have been hearing since election day from the member for Warringah has, I think, created a festering in Australian democracy, and it will come home to roost if on 14 September the Leader of the Opposition is made the leader of the government—and heaven help us if that does take place. (Time expired)

English: Canberra from Mount Ainslie with Parl...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)