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Thursday, 27 November 2008
Page: 7652


Senator PARRY (11:10 PM) —This contribution has been inspired by Senator Feeney. I was not intending to speak, but Senator Feeney cannot leave the record the way he has. Selective quoting by Senator Feeney does not do him or the Labor Party any service. I could spend the full 10 minutes just going through the critical analysis of how bad the Labor Party was at economic management of this country. I am not going to put the Senate through that arduous task because I intend to only speak for a couple of moments, but I will redress the record.

Senator Feeney needs to be reminded of two salient facts. The first one is that, when we inherited government and the Australian people wanted us to severely take over this country’s financial management again, we had a $96 billion debt to pay back that the Labor government of the day had built up. That is the inherited pattern in Australian politics, cycle in, cycle out: what the coalition parties do is rebuild this country. We rebuild the financial stocks. We strengthen the financial management of this country, only for it to be eroded by a Labor government every time they come to office. And that is repeating again.

In 12 months of office, this Labor government has gone into deficit. It is about to borrow money again. It is going to put the burden on future generations of Australian families. Senator Feeney should not be proud of anything he has said tonight. We are the serious economic managers of this country, and I can tell you, Senator Feeney, through you, Mr President: do not ever, ever presume to be anything other than economic wreckers of this country. The Australian people will put us back into office a lot quicker than you understand because we can control the economy, we know what we are doing and we have a fantastic track record.

Could I just make another observation about what happened today. Senator Feeney has only been able to quote Liberal senators today. Do you know why? It is because we are the only senators that make any sense when it comes to economic credentials and economic management. If he wants to come into this place and argue records, we will do him any day on economic management on records. We could go for a long time. I would have to do this on a Tuesday night and get the 20-minute adjournment speech just to cover the issues that we need to cover to prove the economic credentials of this country that the Liberal Party and a coalition government have given.


Senator Mason —Howard versus Keating or Whitlam; try that one!


The PRESIDENT —Senator Mason!


Senator PARRY —Great interjections, I might add. But could I add also that when you came into government—accidentally, I might add—we left you $20 billion in your petty cash drawer. Where is it? What have you done with the $20 billion we left you? Not only that, we put under the mattress another $20 billion in future funds. What are you going to do with that? We accept the Australian people’s verdict on the election, but it was by default that you got in. You did not even expect to come into government. You got there, and you are about to wreck the economy again. Do you know what is going to happen? The Australian people are going to put us back in again to fix the problems, as they always do.