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Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Page: 2085


Senator McGAURAN (3:27 PM) —This week marks three years in office for Labor. Those in government usually take the opportunities available to them in all the different forums of the Senate to mark the occasion, but we have seen nothing of the sort from Labor. In fact, they seem to be avoiding the occasion. Only the previous speaker, who laboriously read from a script, has made any attempt to mark what Labor have done in the past three years. The government are so deep in the mire of their problems that they really do not want to know about their three years in government. They are not in the mood to celebrate, self-reflect or even offer some gratitude for the time they have had in government. It is a great privilege to be in government; it is the golden era of any parliamentarian, and they ought to treat it like that. Instead, they come in here with long faces. They are unhappy. The government is fracturing. We notice it from this side of the chamber.

I have taken the trouble to do a report card for the Labor government’s three years. Firstly, in their first three years they have had two prime ministers. If you liked Kevin Rudd you will certainly love Julia Gillard.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Refer to the Prime Minister by her proper title.


Senator McGAURAN —Prime Minister Gillard and—


Senator Jacinta Collins —Are you really being honest, Julian? Is this your report card?


Senator McGAURAN —I get you all the time, don’t I, Senator Collins? You must watch me on television and come in here. And you are good at it. But that is about all you are good at; you are a top interjector. As Doug Cameron subsides, you are starting to rise. You are all good interjectors over there, but you are not good debaters. Nor are you very good defenders of your own government after three years. Let me go through the report card and you can interject during it, Senator Collins. Firstly, in the three years, incredibly—historically!—you have had two prime ministers. That situation was born out of failure and division.

Secondly, according to that respected elder and great historian of the Labor Party, Senator Faulkner, you are a government with no courage. He said you have ‘more cunning than courage’ in leadership. Those were his words. According to the former Labor senator and respected powerbroker Senator Richardson, or Richo, you are a government with no agenda,. Senator Carr has just walked in. When I mention Senator Richardson, he should shudder. Didn’t Richo do him over a few times? Senator Richardson said you are a government with no agenda.

You have had two Prime Ministers, you have no courage, you have no agenda and, to top it off, according to Senator Cameron you have no brains. He said that you are all ‘zombies’. He says you are a government with no brains. The ‘respected’ Senator Cameron—for the sake of argument, I will use that word—said:

They—

meaning all of you on that side—

… are stifled in the caucus, they are stifled in the public … and so people see the Labor Party having no values and no vision on a whole range of issues and I think that must change …

It seems to be like having a political lobotomy.

That is his report card on you all after three years in government. You are a government with no trust—the Australian people told you that at the last election. You are the first government since Federation to lose its majority—the last one was in 1929. You will go down in the record books for that. The Australian people sent you that message because they did not trust you. You had hyped up all the things you were going to do in your first three years and you did not deliver. You are a government with no competence. In the three years of Labor, you have squandered the surplus and turned it into debt. You spent it on pink batts, Julia Gillard memorial halls and, worst of all, the $35 billion broadband network. You are a government with absolutely no ideas or direction. When you first came into government you set up some 80 reviews, and the new Prime Minister has done no better. She set up climate change committees and she has continued with those reviews. You have no direction. You are a government which, under the old Prime Minister and the new Prime Minister, has just wasted taxpayers’ money. Lastly, you have no control, because the Greens have the control. (Time expired)

Question agreed to.