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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Page: 6668


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (15:13): I second the motion. This Prime Minister should return to the House immediately to explain to the Australian people why she will deny them the right to vote on one of the most significant economic changes in Australia's history. But we also think that the Prime Minister needs to come back to the chamber to explain—and this is why I am seeking a suspension of standing orders—why the Australian people find her so untrustworthy on this issue. In fact, the Prime Minister is considered to be so untrustworthy, so disappointing, so incompetent and, dare I say it, so misleading on this issue that just before I came into question time I looked on the ABC website—they have a little survey running about the Prime Minister; this is the Australian public broadcaster—

Mr Hockey: Our ABC.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: Our ABC. They have asked the Australian public to submit three words that come to mind when they want to describe this Prime Minister. Then, with the wonders of technology, they create a word cloud, and that word cloud then highlights in large capital letters the words most often used by the Australian people replying to this survey about this Prime Minister. What do you think the first word is, the largest word?

Opposition members: Liar!

Ms JULIE BISHOP: Liar. That is what the Australian people say—'liar'. The second word is 'incompetent'. The third is 'disappointing'.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition should be very careful with the expressions she uses. Just because she is quoting them does not entitle her to use them.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: The Prime Minister needs to come into this chamber and explain why it is that the Australian people describe her as a disaster, as dishonest, as ineffective, as hypocritical, as weak and as hopeless. But, in amongst the words, there is 'Kevin'. Why is it that when you mention this Prime Minister's name they remember Kevin? Because this Prime Minister betrayed her leader. She betrayed her leader and then she betrayed the Australian people when she promised there would be no carbon tax under the government she led. So this Prime Minister betrayed her leader, having promised never to challenge her leader. She would sooner fly to the moon or Mars or play full forward for the Doggies than challenge, but challenge she did. In this week-long festival of Kevin's revenge, this Prime Minister is too gutless to come into the House and explain to the Australian people why she betrayed them on the issue of a carbon tax.

Last Thursday we were subjected to the spectacle of the Prime Minister dismissing out of hand the votes of the House of Representatives and the Senate. A majority of the 150 members and the 76 senators voted to condemn a motion of this government in relation to the so-called Malaysian asylum seeker solution. Yet this Prime Minister, having not learnt the lesson that she is not above the will of this parliament, arrogantly walks out of this place and refuses to explain why it is she will not let the Australian people have a say on the most significant issue facing the Australian economy.

This is not a GST, which put up the price of some goods and which has been embraced by countries around the world. No, this is a tax that no other country on earth has introduced—a comprehensive, economy wide carbon tax that no other country has. This is a tax that will send jobs offshore, send production and manufacturing offshore. This is a tax that will damage our economy because it is designed to damage our economy. It is designed to go up and up, year on year. The government knows that it will be passed on, cascading through the economy, because it is a tax on energy. It is designed to change the way we live, the way we shop, the way we work. It is designed to change our behaviour by punishing people, making people victims of this government's ideology.

The Australian people deserve a say on this. They deserve a say. We can do this without going to an election. We know the result of an election. We are not putting it to an election; we are asking the government to give the Australian population the opport­unity to have their say via a plebiscite. Let the Australian people have their say. Why is this Prime Minister so afraid? If she truly believed in a carbon tax, she would argue her case before a plebiscite. If she truly believed that this was good for the Australian people, why did she say before the last election that there would be no carbon tax? Do you know why she said that? Because she knew she would not be Prime Minister today if she told the truth about the carbon tax.