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Thursday, 24 March 2011
Page: 3213

Mr HOCKEY (3:01 PM) —I second the motion. Following on from what the Leader of the Opposition so eloquently said there, the Prime Minister is clearly delusional. In fact, I note that the former Leader of the Opposition is up in the gallery, former medical doctor Dr Brendan Nelson. If he were in this place he would diagnose the Prime Minister with delusional disorder and prescribe appropriate drugs. The reason why we need to move swiftly to deal with this motion—

The SPEAKER —Order! I allowed the Leader of the Opposition a very wide mark on making accusations that could only be made within a motion. The member for North Sydney is straying even further, and he should be very careful.

Mr HOCKEY —The reason why we are moving this motion now and we are seeking to suspend standing orders is that the actions of the Prime Minister are now having a profound effect on confidence in the Australian economy. The chief analyst at Southern Cross Equities has advised his worldwide clients that Australian equities are underperforming the world. I quote:

… the key issue is that Australia economic and taxation policy remains “unpredictable”, with foreign investors displeased with the continual “surprise” movement of the regulatory goal posts in Australia.

It goes on:

I don’t know how many times I have to write that “stability and certainty” of policy are how to attract long-term foreign investment …

There is no doubt in my mind this is the worst excuse for a Federal Government Australia has had since the 1970’s, and that is reflected by the global P/E relative de-rating of Australian equities.

That is going around the world, and what a surprise! When the Prime Minister is asked whether she is going to have a carbon tax, on the one hand she says no; on the other hand she says yes. When the Prime Minister is asked what the tax rate associated with it is going to be, on the one hand she says, ‘We’re making up numbers of $26 a tonne’; on the other hand the Secretary to the Treasury appears before a Senate committee today saying $26 a tonne is very reasonable.

Mr Swan interjecting

Mr HOCKEY —I am coming to you, Swannie.

Mr Swan interjecting

Mr HOCKEY —I am coming to you, old son! On the one hand they say jobs are going to be created by the carbon tax; on the other hand Eric Roozendaal warns Swan on coal job losses, he writes to him about that. We are on Eric Roozendaal’s side just on that one. On the one hand the Prime Minister says it is in the national interest to move on pricing carbon. Yet I feel sorry for the foreign minister over there; his heart must be contracting every time this Prime Minister says it is in the national interest to move on carbon pricing, because this is the Prime Minister that not long ago told that man to dump an emissions trading scheme—that it was in the Labor Party’s interest not to act. Of course, there could be no better illustration of the government’s schizophrenia than the fact that this Prime Minister ran out there and told the Australian people that there would be tax cuts associated with it. The government encouraged Ross Garnaut to go out there and talk about the Henry tax cuts—even briefing out the front page of national papers on a Newspoll weekend, and yet today the dead cat is on the table. There are no tax cuts. They are phantom tax cuts. They are not real. It is this government again engaging in deceit.

Mr Speaker, I would say to you this is having a profound impact not only on investment confidence; it is having a profound impact on consumer confidence, it is having a profound impact on Australian families, and it is having a profound impact on the confidence Australians have in their Prime Minister and in their government. It is just part of everyday policy, whether it be border protection, whether it be royalties in relation to the mining tax, or whether it be a host of policy issues. It is a government that is confused, a government that is directionless, a government without principle and a government without a soul.

From our perspective and the perspective of the Australian people, I would say to this government: dump the politics. We see the Labor MPs are ordered to distance the government from the Greens. In a week’s time we will see Greens MPs ordered to distance themselves from Labor. I would say to you, Mr Speaker: now is the time to go to the Australian people. Now is the time for the Prime Minister to have some ticker, to have some courage, to have some consistency. Go to the Australian people and ask them whether it is right for you to break yet another promise. (Time expired)