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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 277


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (16:57): I am very pleased to participate in this debate about the failure of the leadership of the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. I have to say, forgive me if I do not take seriously the lecture from Senator Paterson based on his very narrow experience in life, never mind economics. He was straight out of university into Senator Fifield's office, did a little bit of work with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and then where did he go? He went to the IPA. What an absolute joy. And he has got the hide to come here and lecture us about economics. The guy has not lived yet, never mind having to worry about economics. He is full of fury, full of pompous bluster, full of nothing but economic analysis that is clearly wrong. What do we get now?

Senator Brandis: Where do you get your economics?

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order on my right.

Senator CAMERON: I get my economics looking after working people. That is where I get my economics. I get my economics from actually knowing what it is like, unlike Senator Brandis, to actually put food on the table for my family. I get my economics from knowing what it is like to worry about how I pay the mortgage. I get my economics from worrying about can I pay my bills. That is the economics I have got, a working-class economics that you, Senator Brandis, would not have a clue about, that you in your pompous, arrogant demeanour would have a clue about. You would not know what it was about.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Cameron, would you resume your seat for one moment please. There will be silence on the right while Senator Cameron is heard and all comments will be through the chair. Senator Cameron.

Senator CAMERON: I can understand, Mr Acting Deputy President, why they are all getting so uptight about hearing the truth about economics. You are not just laughing; what you are doing is laughing at the plight of working-class people in this country, because you do not understand the issues that they face. You do not understand that it is very difficult for many families to pay the bills, pay the mortgage, clothe their kids, get them off to school. All you want to do—

Government senators interjecting

Senator CAMERON: And that is the theory we get from Senator Paterson—which is simply that microeconomics will fix the problems. 'You don't have to worry one iota about ordinary working people in this country. You don't have to worry about them. The economic theory of the IPA will be there.' Senator Paterson's job was Deputy Executive Director of the IPA—whatever that was. I noticed that the IPA, on the issue that we are debating here—that is, the competence of the current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull—says, 'Turnbull's policies aren't Liberal, they're incoherent.' This is the IPA that Senator Paterson used to be the deputy director of. This is what Chris Berg from the IPA says:

It's hard not to conclude that Bill Shorten has the measure of Malcolm Turnbull. Policy after policy the Government is chasing the Opposition, rather than leading it.

This is the IPA. Senator Paterson was a leading light in the IPA. One minute he is criticising the coalition, then he is in here running the party line. What a great job the Prime Minister is doing when the organisation that Senator Paterson has come from is basically saying the Prime Minister is not up to it! 'Malcolm Turnbull ain't up to the job.' That is what your old organisation is saying. No wonder you are smiling—because you agree with that. You are one that would pull Malcolm Turnbull down in a jot. You would pull him down as soon as you could. Chris Berg says that negative gearing is only on the table because Labor announced its negative gearing policy in February. Labor is leading the debate, even according to the IPA.

Reforms to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission were, obviously, only done because Labor called for a royal commission into the banks. Again, the Prime Minister is not up to it. The coalition is not up to it. You are an absolute rabble. Malcolm Turnbull does not have the capacity to lead this country. And it goes on to say the Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O'Dwyer—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, would you resume your seat. On a point of order, Senator Bernardi?

Senator Bernardi: It is on a point of order. The speaker has repeatedly referred to the Prime Minister by his incorrect title. It is either 'Mr Turnbull', 'the Prime Minister' or 'the member for Wentworth'. I would ask you to draw the member to order—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Bernardi. I do; I accept your point of order. I am sure Senator Cameron will continue in that vein, addressing the Prime Minister as 'Mr Turnbull' or 'the Prime Minister'. Senator Cameron, please resume.

Senator CAMERON: I apologise, and I accept your position. If that is the best that the leader of the rebel group in the coalition can come up with, it is not much good. Senator Bernardi, the leader of the rebels—'call Mr Turnbull by his name, Mr, or call him by Prime Minister'. I know what you would be calling him, and it is none of those two things! It is certainly none of those two things. We hear you in the halls up here. We know what you think of Mr Turnbull. We know what you think of the Prime Minister and we know that you will bring him down as soon as you get the opportunity.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, resume your seat. Senator Macdonald, on a point of order.

Senator Ian Macdonald: The point of order is relevance. I am interested in what Senator Bernardi does, but it is not germane to the debate. The debate is about the economy.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: That is a debating point, Senator Macdonald. Would you resume your seat. Senator Cameron, please resume through the chair, thank you.

Senator CAMERON: All the Macdonalds I know in Scotland were pretty tough people. I do not know what happened to them when they came to Australia. I think their gene pool was weakened a lot by Senator Macdonald—no toughness in this guy. What a wimp for a Macdonald! I cannot believe it. Anyway, with this Prime Minister, we know what people think of him: he is not up to the job. He is just not up to the job. We know that he is following every move that Senator Bernardi makes, because he knows that Senator Bernardi is determined to bring him down.

Look at what else is happening in Victoria. There is a guy down there called Michael Kroger. All you guys would know Michael Kroger. Is he up there in the gallery? Maybe he is up there. This is what Michael Kroger said about the Prime Minister: a lack of 'economic leadership in the country' is one of the key reasons the party failed at the polls. He knows that you failed. You lot are in absolute disarray. You get no economic policy, you get no leadership. Michael Kroger and the IPA are telling you: 'What a bunch of hopeless, hopeless politicians you are.' He goes on to say, 'There is period of policy confusion.' That is what you have got amongst the Liberals. Here we are seeing more policy confusion from the Liberals—changes to the GST, the ability of the states to raise their own taxes, negative gearing, capital gains tax and superannuation. That was the policy confusion of the Liberals. They are absolutely hopeless. They are pompous in their arrogance and pompous when they are here. No-one is more pompous than Senator Brandis, but even he, I think, is nodding in agreement with Michael Kroger's position. Michael Kroger went on to say there is 'absolute confusion for business and for voters'. He is talking about Liberal policy. He says:

In that period when we were putting things on and off the table and the electorate formed the opinion, 'well if you fellas, if you people, don't know what [you] are doing, that's a problem.

He did say, 'you fellas', because there are not many women over there in the coalition. But he said there was absolute policy confusion. He said:

The electorate got a view that we didn't have a clear idea of where we wanted to take the country in terms of the economy.

This is not Labor saying these things. This is Michael Kroger, one of the key players in the Liberal Party in Victoria. And the IPA are echoing that view.

So the Victorian Liberal Party, Senator Paterson, are not taking the sycophantic position that you are adopting. They are actually calling the Prime Minister out. They are saying he is incompetent; he is not up to the job. And he ain't going to be Prime Minister for too long if the Victorian Liberal Party get their way. That is the reality, so do not come here and give us your speeches with your economic theory from the IPA. Listen to some of the people that understand politics, listen to working-class people that are doing it tough and stop giving us your nonsense economic theory about: 'Everything will be okay if the markets let rip.' (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Pursuant to order, debate is now interrupted for the purpose of the first speech of Senator Hume.