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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 215


Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:04): My question is to the Attorney-General representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. Can the Attorney-General outline the government's plan to build a strong, prosperous and secure Australia?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:04): Thank you very much indeed, Senator Smith, for giving me the opportunity on this first business day of the new parliament to outline the government's plans to build a strong, prosperous and secure Australia—a plan, I might say, Senator Smith, that was endorsed by the Australian people on 7 July. We took to that election a clear plan which set out a roadmap to boost investment, to generate jobs, to grow the economy and to keep Australia safe. It is a plan to provide opportunities for the enterprising men and women of Australia, a plan that will enable our children and our grandchildren to inherit a more prosperous Australia, built on fairness and opportunity.

As I said to you, Senator Smith, we took that plan to the people and the people decided to return us to government. We have a mandate to give effect to that plan and we intend to deliver on our commitments to repay the trust the Australian people have placed in us. By returning us to government, the people endorsed our economic plan, and it is now the responsibility of those who sit in this parliament to respect that mandate. Under our plan, we will be delivering on, for example, the most significant reforms in disability care that Australia has ever seen—but, unlike the Labor Party, we will also be funding it. Under our plan, we will negotiate with the states on school funding and improve the quality of education and, unlike the Labor Party, we will fund it. We will be delivering on reforms across hospital funding, aged care and mental health and introducing structural reform to the welfare payment system—and, unlike the Labor Party, in our plan we are telling the Australian people how we will fund it. And we will continue, as well, our successful roll out of the NBN—(Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Smith, supplementary question.



Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:06): Can the Attorney-General advise the Senate how the government is progressing its plan for jobs, growth and investment?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:06): Senator Smith, I spoke in response to your primary question primarily about social policy, but, of course, the heart of our plan is the plan for jobs, growth and investment.

This morning the Treasurer took an important step along the road to budget repair, which Senator Cameron over there mocks so much, by introducing into the House an omnibus savings bill, because only a strong economy and a strong budget position can ensure that we will be able to deliver to generations in the future the hospitals, the medical care and the welfare provisions that we enjoy in this generation. As well, this morning the Prime Minister introduced into the lower house vital pieces of workplace relations reform, because only by reinstating the ABCC will we be able to restore the rule of law to the construction industry and address the kind of thuggery and illegal activity for which those opposite are apologists. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Smith, a final supplementary question.



Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:07): Is the Attorney-General aware of any threats to Australia's future prosperity?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:07): Senator Smith, I am sorry to say that I am aware of threats to Australia's future prosperity from those who stand in the way of this necessary reform so that we can get the budget under control, so that we can afford schools and hospitals and good social welfare provision not just for this generation but for future generations. That is why the Prime Minister has said that this is not merely an economic plan but the fulfilment of a moral duty.

Might I, at this first question time of the new parliament, address myself in particular through you, Mr President, to the crossbench. We see the Australian Labor Party as the primary obstacle in this chamber, but we do see among the fresh faces of the new crossbenchers and re-elected crossbenchers men and women who have come into this parliament with the right sentiments, with an intention to play their constructive role for the future of our country. (Time expired)