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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 4367

Senator HURLEY (3:27 PM) —This is all very illuminating. The opposition consider that policy consists of Mr Abbott saying that he would not do something. That was Senator McGauran’s great change of direction when they changed leader. Senator Bernardi talks about the Labor Party changing leaders and omits mention of the treachery and betrayal that occurred in the case of Mr Brendan Nelson and Mr Malcolm Turnbull. They, at least, were leaders who were trying to take you down some positive path, who were trying to develop policy, and that clearly was not good enough for the Liberal Party. In the absence of Mr Howard, who was very good at developing pragmatic policies, at throwing money at things, at making empty symbols, they floundered around looking for a leader who could develop real policies and take the party in a new direction.

So they turned to Mr Brendan Nelson. But the polls dropped, so they got rid of Mr Brendan Nelson—an act of treachery and betrayal for someone just into opposition. That leader was just done away with. Then we had Mr Malcolm Turnbull, who, again, rather than consistently saying no to everything that came through the parliament, tried to do something constructive. He tried to acknowledge that there might be some shades in the black and white. But, no, Mr Turnbull was subjected to an act of treachery and betrayal in his party room and, on the eve of making a historic, world-leading agreement, was dumped by his party.

Now we have Mr Abbott, whose crowning achievement, according to Senator McGauran, is to say no to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. What else has he done? What policies has he produced since then? Negative ones. In this parliament the consistent action of the opposition is to negate any legislation, not let anything through and not talk about their own policies but adopt a negative, blocking tactic. There are no policies, there is no action—no change, in fact, from the Howard era. Mr Abbott runs on a negative scare campaign. We all know that that can be very effective, and it did make it tough for the Labor Party. But this morning we had Julia Gillard taking up the leadership of the Labor Party, pledging to take the Labor Party in a new direction. She said that we had lost our way in the public debate, partly due to this negative campaign. She is going to take us in a new direction.

I greatly look forward to seeing the way that Julia Gillard will lead us forward. I have great faith in her intelligence and her ability to develop policy and see it through. Her faith in her country will translate to positive policy. Her love of her country will translate into policies that will take this country forward rather than being locked in the past, failed policies of the Howard era. I certainly have great faith in Ms Julia Gillard’s ability to do that. I look forward, most of all, to having a Prime Minister who looks to the future and who has the ability to take the people of Australia with her. I also look forward to working with the first female Prime Minister. It is a great thing, a great example for those of us in the party and, I am sure, all around the country that we have a female Prime Minister of great ability, great intelligence and great courage. We look forward to her taking us into the future.