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Thursday, 21 March 2013
Page: 2979


Mr TRUSS (Wide BayLeader of The Nationals) (14:54): Clearly the government need a leave of absence. They need more than the leave of absence as proposed in this motion. They need, as the shadow Treasurer just said, a permanent leave of absence. Indeed, it ought not to be leave. It ought to be imposed upon them by the Australian people for having failed in government, for having failed to deliver on the commitments to the Australian people and for having let this nation down.

This is a government that has failed to meet its commitments to the Australian people. The current Prime Minister acceded to office with three major policy announcements. She said the three major policy failures of the Rudd era, when she knifed him in 2010, were the mining tax, asylum seekers and climate change. All three are now bigger problems than when she came to office. She has made them worse. We have got a carbon tax that she promised we would never have.

If today is to be her last day then enshrined on the tomb of her prime ministership will be the words: there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead. I think the government needs a leave of absence to go out and prepare the tombstone. So the first of the three major problems that she had to fix up she made worse by giving us the world's biggest carbon tax, one that is costing thousands of Australian jobs. It is making us uncompetitive as a nation. It is encouraging people to invest in other parts of the world while doing absolutely nothing to give us a better environment.

The second big problem we were going to have fixed was the mining tax. Well she has fixed it good and proper. It was supposed to raise $2 billion; it has raised net $40 million. This was the tax that was going to share the boom. Firstly, it has reduced the size of the boom. Secondly, this $40 million will go nowhere towards giving us a National Disability Insurance Scheme or Gonski reforms or any of the other things that she spoke about. I think that Labor needs time and leave of absence to help get their policies right and to make sure that they address the issues they promised. Thirdly, what about fixing the asylum seeker problem? There have been over 30,000 more asylum seekers and absolutely no end in sight to this human traffic. The reality is this government has failed dismally.

As was earlier mentioned, the Labor Party has no plan for the future. We do have a plan for the future. We do have a way forward. This is Labor's plan: Mr Crean and the faceless men. This is our plan: carefully prepared principles of policy that will make a real difference to ordinary Australians. We have a way of bringing our country forward. This government is lost and needs time. It certainly needs time on leave of absence to find its way once again.

I notice they are in quite a contest at the present time and need a leave of absence to sort out who is going to be leader. Who is going to be the head of this new government? I thought the qualifications for each of the candidates have been well and truly espoused by the Labor Party itself. I am interested that the member for Hotham is reputedly the man who will be Deputy Prime Minister under the new administration with somebody else as Prime Minister. The one he wants to be Prime Minister is Kevin Rudd. It was not very long ago, 31 January 2012, that Mr Crean had this to say about Kevin Rudd:

He can’t be prime minister again. He’s got to accept that.

Only a year ago, he could not be Prime Minister—now he is asking his colleagues to vote for him and make him the next leader of our country. This is Labor's way of doing things: they have been doing it this way for 50 years—it is no different today. This is a party that need time in the wilderness, that need leave of absence so they can get their organisational affairs in practice. If you can't govern yourself, you can't govern the country—and this government have certainly shown that they cannot do that.

There is a better way forward. There is a way that we can have a leave of absence that makes a difference to the Australian people: let's have an election! Let the people decide how long this leave of absence should be—should it be just for seven weeks, should it be for seven years or should it be for seven decades. The longer the better, as far as I am concerned. This is a government that has lost its way, has no idea where it should head and is in fact testing the patience of Australian people beyond belief.

Look around and try and find an Australian who thinks they are better off under this government. Look around and try and find an Australian who thinks this government has done anything to ease their cost of living or to make their lifestyle better. The answer is that they are simply not there.

Let us take the leave of absence period to wander around Australia and search out people who feel that this government has done a good job. It will take longer than seven weeks; it will take a lifetime. This is a government that has lost its way, has lost its soul, has lost its direction, has lost its leadership and does not know where to tread. This is a motion that perhaps even ought to be amended, to give this parliament a permanent leave of absence until there is a better government that can do a better job.