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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13259


Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong) (22:21): It was John Kenneth Galbraith who once said 'Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.' This may be all well and good for the politician who has committed the original sin but for the public who bear the brunt of that politician's bad policy there is little forgiveness. And there is no worse government than what we have seen over the last five years, or 1,827 days, of the Rudd-Gillard government.

Let us recount just some of Labor's greatest failures over the last five years. I am sure there are many to add but here it goes. We have the carbon tax from a Prime Minister who said there would be no carbon tax under the government she led and a PM who promised a citizens assembly to generate a consensus and said she was from a party of 'truth telling'; the mining tax, which was first announced with no industry consultation and then introduced with so much industry consultation it produced zero revenue; the company tax cut, which was never delivered and saw Labor members like the Minister for Small Business and the member for Deakin write to their constituents the day before the announcement saying the company tax would be delivered; and the Henry tax review report which sat in the Treasurer's cupboard for six months before he released it, only to announce he was only going to accept one out of 138 recommendations—no surprise from a government that conducts itself by review, setting up more than 200 inquiries and reviews, the daddy of them all being the 2020 Summit.

Then there is the 2012-13 surplus that was a rolled-gold guarantee, then a commitment, then an objective, then a guiding principle, now an expectation that will never be delivered; the four biggest budget deficits in Australia's history; a net debt of $147 billion with an interest bill of $20 million a day and a debt ceiling of $300 billion from a starting position of having $70 billion in the bank and a debt ceiling of only $75 billion; an NBN which started at just over a $4 billion commitment, that had no cost-benefit analysis, the proposal for which was prepared by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on the back of an envelope, has now blown out to $50 billion and has more than 1,300 staff and only 7,000 customers; and a bungled Australia Network tender which led to a police investigation and the government being forced to make compensation payments.

There has been government waste on a grand scale, from the pink batts that led to hundreds of house fires to the overpriced school halls, the set top boxes that were cheaper at Gerry Harvey's and the $70 million being spent on government advertising to sell a carbon tax no one wants; the embarrassing, costly and public failures of the green loans, GroceryWatch, Fuel watch and clash for clunkers; the bloating of the Public Service, which has seen more than 20,000 new hires on Labor's watch; and the abolition of anything and everything that Tony Abbott was responsible for when a minister in the Howard government from the successful Chronic Disease Dental Scheme, work for the dole, the private health insurance rebate and of course the Australian building and construction commission—not to mention the blank cheque that has been given to the unions, with amendments to fair work provisions, the stacking of the commission with political appointments and wilful blindness towards union militancy in the workplace

There is the introduction of more than 20,000 new or amended regulations with only 104 repealed, strangling small business in a sea of red tape and burdensome regulation; the failure to protect our borders with more than 30,000 unauthorised arrivals and 500 boats with hundreds of lives tragically lost at sea, riots in our detention centres and a budget blowout of more than $6 billion, not to mention the farce of the East Timor solution the Timorese government did not want and the Malaysia solution the High Court would not allow; the dramatic and dangerous cuts to defence spending, which has fallen to the lowest level since 1938; and the misdirection of our aid spending that has seen Australian taxpayers funding a statue in New York that commemorates the end of slavery in the Caribbean.

We also have the farce of the live cattle export issue which cost millions of dollars and thousands of jobs; the dumbing down of our foreign policy by our Prime Minister, who would rather be sitting with a class of schoolkids than representing the country meeting fellow world leaders abroad; an Asia Pacific Community that never got off the ground but only damaged our relationships in the region; the leaking of a private telephone conversation with President Bush over the G20; calling the Chinese rat somethings; and the bypassing of a trusted partner in Japan on Mr Rudd's first visit overseas. The current Foreign Minister Senator Carr has also launched into Papua New Guinea, calling for sanctions against them. If that is what a rehearsed kabuki actor behaves like, then save us all.

The list goes on: the backflip and embarrassment over the supertrawler; the copying by the Leader of the House of lines from The American President in a speech to the National Press Club; a Treasurer who pretends he is Bruce Springsteen and then goes on to call Republicans in the United States 'cranks and crazies' to support his political base; a Prime Minister who belittles our parliament with a trumped up and false charge of misogyny only to then back the then Speaker Peter Slipper after the substance of some repugnant text messages became public, not to mention the Attorney-General giving Mr Slipper privileged access to the judges car park; and there was the Australia Day riot that had its origins in a confected anti-Abbott manoeuvre.

The list goes on and on. The faceless men in the Labor Party removed Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister—now the Australian people want to have their say so let them have their say in an election tomorrow.