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Thursday, 25 February 2010
Page: 1286

Senator CAMERON (5:26 PM) —I would like to speak to document 29, the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2009-10 statement by the Treasurer, Mr Swan, and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Mr Tanner. I think it is quite clear that the government’s responsibility to lead this nation at a time of great economic challenge has been carried out in an extremely professional, exceptional manner. We delivered a package to this country that kept and underpinned 210,000 jobs in the economy.

We delivered an economic package to this country that has made this country the envy of the rest of the world. We have the lowest net government debt as a share of GDP. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world of advanced economies. We have ensured that we actually plan for the future. Our economic stimulus package has delivered a new approach in this country to long-term planning for schools, for roads, for dealing with black spots, for looking at community projects—

Senator Bushby —Roof insulation!

Senator CAMERON —I will take that interjection—and we have insulated the ceilings and the homes of people around this country who could never, ever have afforded to have their homes insulated. I find it the height of hypocrisy and class distinction that some of those on the other side, who have no problem finding $2,000, $3,000 or $4000 to insulate their roof, do nothing but carp and criticise when it comes to the government helping the ordinary working-class people of this country insulate their roofs. That scheme has delivered a financial saving for ordinary working people that will save them money for years to come. It will mean less greenhouse gas going into the atmosphere. The government has conceded there are issues with that project. What we are going to do is make sure it is fixed and make sure it continues to deliver for working-class people who could not otherwise afford to have their homes insulated—who are not in the same position as you, Senator Bushby, with plenty of money coming into the household and the ability to look after high electricity bills and insulation. Lots of working people in this country cannot do that.

Opposition senators interjecting—

Senator CAMERON —I will tell you, Senator Bushby: we know where you come from.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Forshaw)—Order! Senator Cameron, direct your remarks through the chair please.

Senator CAMERON —We know where Senator Bushby comes from; he comes from the pack of Work Choices warriors, who would not only take away an opportunity for workers to insulate their homes but take away their penalty rates, their overtime payments and their conditions, reduce their annual leave and leave them at the mercy of some of the worst employers in this country. He stands up time and time again—

Opposition senators interjecting—


Opposition senators interjecting—


Senator Mason —Workers always do better under us than you.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I have called three times for order, Senator Mason, and you just continued to ignore me.

Senator Mason —I couldn’t hear you. I’m sorry.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I was having trouble hearing myself.

Senator CAMERON —We know where the silvertails over that side come from. We know that they want to support the big end of town. We know that they will not put any fairness and equity into the Medicare surcharge levy. We know where they stand. They want to make sure that the billionaires and the multimillionaires with their $10.5 million salaries get their Medicare levies subsidised by the ordinary workers of this country. We know where you stand. You want to come after workers’ conditions. You want to make sure that the big end of town is looked after. You want to make sure that you do nothing to interfere in the market. You want to let the market rip, at the expense of ordinary workers in this country. You were a rabble before Christmas—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Cameron!

Senator CAMERON —You changed your leader and you are still a rabble.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Cameron, you know that you are not supposed to keep speaking after I have called time. Your time has expired.

Senator CAMERON —I apologise, Mr Acting Deputy President.