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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1366


Mr CONROY (Shortland) (15:45): This side of politics will not be lectured by the member for Pearce on public finance. This is a man who was a great disaster as WA Treasurer. This is a man who every day woke up and tripped over the billions of dollars of iron ore royalties and wasted the lot. He left the Treasury of WA in a massive black hole, so he has a massive hide to come here and lecture us on public finance.

This MPI is about the true nature of government. Nothing reveals the true nature of government than the last week's events. We have seen the NDIS held hostage by this government's brutal cynicism—a hostage-taking condemned not just by the Labor Party but by great Australians who are passionate about helping our disabled Australians. Most notably, Kurt Fearnley—a great Novocastrian, a great paralympian and a great advocate for disabled Australians—condemned this government and he condemned the minister now walking out of the chamber for treating the NDIS as a political football and for being politically opportunistic.

We have also seen this week the omnibus bill—a bill that leaves 1½ million Australian families worse off. We have also seen debate around a $50 billion corporate tax cut. We have seen an emphasis on an energy debate where their only policy, according to Danny Price, is to jack up electricity prices by $15 billion. The Prime Minister's chosen economic electricity expert is saying their policy would jack up power prices by $15 billion.

And yet they have the hide to lecture us about them being the worker's best friend. They have the chutzpah to say that they are interested in looking after workers when all they have produced is a tax on workers. We will not be lectured about protecting workers and jobs by this mob. This is the party of Work Choices, a party that opposed superannuation, a party that cut the pension and a party that cut Newstart.

I am proud to be a Labor Party MP. I am proud to be from a party that stands up for workers and communities and stands up for the disadvantaged in this country and says we will improve their lives, unlike the Liberal-National coalition, which is intent on tearing them down. It is no surprise that is their attitude. Look who leads them: a man whose biography is entitled Born to Rule. Mr Deputy Speaker, you only have to see his actions in this place that demonstrate that mentality.

A good indicator of someone's attitude is the topics of speeches they make in the House. It is always useful to go back to Hansard, so I went back to Hansard and looked through the number of times Prime Minister Turnbull—before he was Prime Minister—talked about creating jobs. He was in this place 11 years before usurping Mr Abbott. Guess how many times he mentioned creating jobs?

An opposition member: None!

Mr CONROY: People here are very pessimistic! The truth is, in an 11-year career he mentioned it 18 times. Interestingly, that is the same number of times he mentioned rugby, sailing and wine. It is also the same number of times he mentioned chardonnay, cafe, Ferrari, poultry and luxury. Such is his commitment to the working people in this country.

We also saw it in his first major thought piece when he was an MP—when he was busily trying to get Prime Minister Howard's attention. What was the centrepiece of his coming out party? It was a 30 per cent top tax rate. Nothing for working people, but a 30 per cent top tax rate for the very well-off. We also saw this attitude in parliament this week, when he talked about energy prices as the most important thing dominating family budgets. Electricity prices are really important, and we do not diminish that point, but the fact that he never mentioned mortgages in all this is very illuminating. It demonstrates that this guy does not understand the cost of living pressures that families face.

It is no surprise. One only has to go back to what Brendan Nelson said about him. Brendan Nelson is hardly a friend of the Labor Party, but he said of the current Prime Minister that he has a narcissistic personality disorder and that he has no empathy. Everything we have seen this week—taking the NDIS hostage, cutting family payments, trying to cut the pension and attacking unemployed Australians—demonstrates that.

The truth is that history will condemn this Prime Minister. History will condemn his party as cynical, petty, divisive and myopic. History will condemn them. They are a government deeply out of touch that will shortly be condemned to the dustbin of history.