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Monday, 24 June 2013
Page: 6896


Dr JENSEN (Tangney) (21:37): The litany of failure that haunts this Labor government will not be buried with another dethronement. The Labor Party believe it right that the cup of power be the preserve of their grubby faceless men—how dark a day. The undying speculation regarding Labor leadership distracts from the real issues that we should be debating in this place, real issues like: why is it that Labor have had six years—three years of Rudd, three years of Gillard—and they could not deliver even one surplus? Six years and Labor have left us paying nearly $8 billion a year in interest on our national debt to overseas creditors. To put it in perspective, that is $350 of interest payment for every man, woman and child in Australia without even touching the principal. Contrast this to earning interest from overseas debtors when the Howard government were in control of the purse.

But it is not just fanciful economic projections and flagrantly false and fatally flawed premises, as per the carbon tax and the ETS. No, it is a cascade of mistruths, half truths and no truths that have left our country worse off and more than a little peeved. The list is long, but let me make a start: carbon tax, pink batts, school halls, old laptops for schools. But the more sickening of Labor's lyrics are the unfunded pledges on dental and on education reform. Why won't Labor put the money in and fund the programs they talk about? The 14-month gap in dental, or the 10-year gap in funding the reforms to education funding proposed by David Gonski? Ten years: that is 2022; three elections! What arrogance: Rudd and Labor; Labor and Gillard.

Think of what the last six years has been like and think of what the last three years have been like. A question the average Aussie mum, dad and kitchen table economist have to ask is: do you feel better off now than when John Howard ran the country? It is a very simple question and a reality that Labor cannot run away from. No matter whether Mr Rudd leads the lemmings or Ms Gillard leads them, they are going off the cliff of consequences of their own making.

I think everyone in this place knows that Labor loves the quick-fix, no-fix solution, completely at odds with the real solutions on offer from the coalition. But quick-hit, bandaid budgeting has seen Labor raid bank accounts through the unclaimed moneys bill, attack superannuation through multitudes of superannuation legislation amendments and cripple private health provision through the scrapping of the private healthcare rebate. There can be no doubt that, whether the ship is captained by a man with a blue tie or a woman with a red face, the fact remains: Labor makes it difficult.

Labor has got it wrong on the debt, deficit and direction of this great and hopeful nation. Labor under Rudd set the course. The direction was wrong then and is still wrong today. Any time a country sees its competitiveness decrease rather than increase, the direction is wrong. Yet Labor celebrated and continue celebrating the deceiving of the Australian public on the science of the carbon tax and the wrapping of a suffocating straitjacket around Australian business. This is not a propaganda piece; I will leave that to Labor.

Consider this: the latest metrics on consumer and business confidence as well as business investment are all moving downwards—this at a time when most significant international leading indicators have registered a significant uptick. Labor have the country moving backwards. The coalition and the people want to move forward. Labor is tired and troubled. It makes no difference whether the poison is called Rudd or Gillard, it is still Labor and it is still rotten.

The real alternative to get Australia moving is to put responsibility and maturity back to work for the Australian people. My colleagues and I, under the disciplined leadership of Tony Abbott, pledge ourselves to the service of all the people of Australia. The coalition will reduce the red tape that started under Rudd and continued under Gillard. The coalition will commit to conscientious conservation and to common sense. We will return maturity and decency to the highest office in the land.

The coalition will benchmark policy and practice against international best practice and utilise cost-benefit analysis as a point of first principle. We will never throw good money after bad. Remember what it was really like under Rudd—Ruddvana it was not. If this is the final chapter in the saga of the leaderless—dare I say rudderless—Labor Party, then it will be more of an epic and more unbelievable than those happenings in that galaxy far, far away.

Think about the mendacity of a Prime Minister who promises there will be no carbon tax under the government she leads. Once a prime minister begins on such a mendacious path, there is no turning back—and the entire Labor Party and government become completely imbued with mendacity.

Let me briefly remind the House of the Labor stages of hell. We had the mining tax that raises no tax and ignores the constitutional reality that the resources belong to the states; the NBN, failed; school halls, failed; the bank guarantee, failed—and those smaller financial institutions are still feeling the effects—green loans, failed; green cars, failed; plasma TV giveaways—roll up, roll up, there is so much more to throw away! Then we had FuelWatch, failed; Grocery Watch, failed; set-top boxes; solar homes; pink batts; and, most spectacularly, border protection. Never has this country been so vulnerable to attack from outside and inside these shores, yet the primary responsibility of the government—the first obligation of the social contract—is to defend the nation.

As Labor have so blatantly abrogated responsibility for our security, they should give that job to those that can do it and give back to the people their ill-gotten power. Remember, it was Mr Rudd who led the charge to dismantle the successful suite of Howard era policies that had effectively stopped the boats. It was Mr Rudd who was so keen to scrap the Pacific solution—for bloviating bluster and swapping arrangements back and forth, starting and stopping. These dangerous times require a strong and serious government. That is what my colleagues and I are offering to the people of Australia on 14 September, because that is what they deserve. The fiasco of boat people slipping through the net and radicalising whole communities must and will end. I will not stand by to witness any more rivers of blood. Criminals, murderers and terrorists are not welcome in Australia—not now, not ever. The $6 billion border protection fiasco has failed to fix it. This is a stain on Labor that will never be removed. The wilful disregard for safe and secure policy is akin to treason—the lives of those lost, both here in Australia and at sea.

The people of Tangney have told me that there is no way, no ruddy way, that they want to go backwards. The people in the Perth suburbs burdened by the cost pressures of Labor profligacy cannot bear another term of Labor. I implore the members opposite to ask the small business owners of Applecross, Ardross, Willetton or Winthrop how they are going. The answer is simply: they are not. When I talk to Sinclairs jewellers in Ardross, they tell me that the margins are razor thin. Does it make a difference if the crippling constraint of the heavy socialist hand wears a pink or a red glove? Let business get back to business. Australian business will be free to get on with it again under the coalition. The coalition knows that words matters and that actions matter even more. In the final analysis, whether it is more of the Labor loony left or the union left, it is all left and it should be left on the scrap heap of history. A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have. Let us get back to hope, reward and opportunity.