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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Page: 6690


Mr MITCHELL (McEwen) (16:41): I am very pleased to be able to speak on this matter of public importance. This MPI was proposed by the member for North Sydney, who has absolutely no clue when it comes to economics. I am pleased that today the shadow Treasurer has finally started to talk about economics, because we never hear him talk much about it. We know why. It is because numbers are not his strong point. Whether it is here, on the opposition front bench or in the party room, numbers are not his strong point. This is why he keeps on with this babble and rubbish. It proves once again that in the opposition you do not have to have a sharp mind. Just because you have a sharp tongue, it does not mean that you have a keen mind.

Today we have the wit from the member for Dawson. I would fair dinkum have to say that the member for Dawson ought to go and have a look at what he said. I tell you what: you have come close to being the most disgraceful thing I have ever seen in parliament.

An opposition member: Have you had a look at yourself?

Mr MITCHELL: Yes, I have, and I am quite proud to be up here not using xenophobic tactics or misogynistic tactics to blame everything.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! The member for McEwen will not respond to interjections from across the chamber.

Mr MITCHELL: Certainly, Mr Deputy Speaker, I should know not to go into a battle of wits with an unarmed man. I apologise.

Following the budget, the shadow Treasurer described the global financial crisis as nothing more than a hiccup. What an absolute insult to Australians who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut during what was known as one of the biggest economic downturns across the world. You have to ask the question: what would the member for North Sydney do? How would he have cured our economy during this so-called hiccup? Would he have instructed us to stand on our heads, hold our breath or maybe take a glass of water? In countries like Spain and Ireland unemployment is around 20 per cent due to the global financial crisis. But, according to those on the other side, that was just a hiccup. Twenty per cent of people unemployed!

I know that the people of Australia and particularly the people of my electorate do not view the global financial crisis as a hiccup. It just illustrates the complete disregard that the Liberal Party has for the importance of job security to families across our country. We know too well that during the GFC the Liberal Party opposed stimulus funding, which helped to create and support new jobs, as well as investing in things like education. I am sure that the tuckshop raiders would be out there at the new school hall saying, 'How good is this? We are here getting our photo taken. It is something the Labor government has delivered.' Not one of you has ever got up and said, 'I tell you what, let's not put one of these in my schools.' How many times have you been out to schools and said: 'We shouldn't have this. Your kids don't deserve the best education opportunities. Your kids don't deserve 21st century facilities. We just think that what we are going through is a hiccup.'

An opposition member: You should be ashamed of yourself.

Mr MITCHELL: I am very ashamed to be up here talking about how many of the 210 schools in McEwen received brand-new buildings, brand-new classrooms, science and language learning centres! What did you get them? A flagpole—whoop-de-do. That is really going to give you the best education, sitting under a white piece of wood. We are actually out there delivering better teachers, better services and better facilities, to give every kid every opportunity. They will grow up, get an education and say, 'Gee whiz, how did we ever let those people over there into the 43rd Parliament? What were we thinking at that stage?'

Unlike the Liberal Party, we took the GFC seriously. We took action, rather than sitting there and just hoping it would go away, it would fade into the distance.

Mr Craig Thomson: A bit like the National Party.

Mr MITCHELL: A bit like the National Party—but not all the National Party. Some are very good members for their electorates.

Mr McCormack interjecting

Mr MITCHELL: Of course. Mr Scott, the Deputy Speaker, is a wonderful member and I hope he is here for a long, long time to come and enjoys a good long parliamentary career.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): The member for McEwen will—

Mr MITCHELL: Stop crawling?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for McEwen has the call and he should use his time to address the MPI before the House.

Mr MITCHELL: Certainly, Mr Deputy Speaker. Those opposite are a bunch of nay-sayers and it is becoming increasingly evident that the only preselection process for a Liberal Party candidate is to say no. Then you are guaranteed preselection, because that is all you need to do. You do not need to think of a policy, you do not need to think of a plan and you do not need to have an idea. You just say no and then hit your reaction plans.

If we had listened to that lot over there during the global financial crisis, over 200,000 Australians would now be out of work. But we did not. Instead, because we have policies, because we have plans and because we have ideas, we have created 700,000 jobs right across the country. If we had listened to the nay-sayers over there when it comes to job creation, we would have a massively high unemployment rate—double digits. But we did not. Because we have plans, because we have ideas and because we have that P word that they are so afraid of—policies—we have a steady 4.9 per cent unemployment rate. It is the lowest amongst developed nations in the world. That is something we should be very proud of. This government delivered jobs, which delivers incomes to families and allows the economy to keep going. Australia was saved from the GFC.

If we had listened to you when it came to stimulus funding in schools, 210 schools in McEwen would not have received new buildings or upgrades. They would not have received one cent. But we did not listen to you. We put the plans in place which kept jobs going, kept local economies stimulated and kept people in work. Now we have principals and teachers right across the electorate of McEwen saying that this program, Building the Education Revolution, has brought forward education and their school facilities by 20 to 30 years. That was done after 11 long, dark years of neglect in education by the former Howard governĀ­ment.

If we listen to the nay-sayers when it comes to putting a price on carbon, our economy, as the Productivity Commission has revealed, would drastically suffer. We quite often hear those opposite saying, 'But the Prime Minister said there would be no carbon tax before the election.' They should come in with the Australian dated 20 August. There was a great article written by Paul Kelly and Dennis Shanahan titled 'Julia Gillard's carbon price promise'. I read this and I thought, 'What's going on here?' There is the Prime Minister saying before the election that she is 'prepared to legislate a carbon price in the new term'. In the new term—that is this term. She said:

I don't rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism …

There you go. That is exactly what we are doing, and that was before the election. It was 20 August—before the election—in the Australian, the great newspaper that you all read and dream of. There it is in black and white. We are delivering exactly what we said before the election. But, of course, when you are sitting there saying, 'No, no, no,' you have no idea. You just cannot hear what goes on around this place.

The Liberal Party's message during the GFC was: 'If you are out of work, tough. Bad luck. You lost your job? Tough luck. You've had your hours at work cut? Tough luck. We will sit here and do nothing.' But they would have been happy, had they still been in government, to cut your working conditions, cut your wages and bring everyone down. That was the only policy they had during their last term in government. It is outrageous that those opposite did not take the struggles of working families seriously. We on this side of the House have a plan. We have a strong Treasurer with a plan to get the budget back into surplus, to create more jobs and a clean energy economy. Those opposite think that their little childlike three-word slogans will get us back into surplus.

But what is the member for North Sydney's excuse for his incompetence? Maybe it has to do with the fact that he cannot concentrate because someone used a blower vac or a lawnmower outside his window and it put him off. It left him in a space where he could not work. That is how frail and brittle he is. It shows that he is just not up to the job. But of course the member for Goldstein knows that. He is circling like a little shark. He is circling there, waiting to take the shadow Treasurer's job, and we know how confident he is. This is the man who went to the 2007 election saying, 'All these Labor Party candidates still work for the government, in breach of section 44 of the Constitution.' That lasted about 10 minutes, because once the press looked at it they found that his detailed research, his hours of energy and effort, were put into looking at websites that were out of date. He googled once and that was it. That is the extent of the ability of the financial mess that those members over there call their financial portfolio spokesman.

This motion is an absolute joke. Someone who has failed every single step of the way when it comes to doing numbers, doing the budget and doing finance policies and who has delivered absolutely nothing comes in and has a crack at our guys. Our Treasurer, as I said, has delivered a strong budget. We are delivering on all our election promises. It is all there in black and white.

Mr McCormack interjecting

Mr MITCHELL: Once again, that is evidence you do not listen. I think I just went through that and I know the tuckshop raiders up the back have no idea. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The time for this discussion has concluded.