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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2807


Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (16:06): Can you believe the hide of those opposite? The Australian public inherited a $667 billion debt from the six years they were in government—the six longest years I can remember of any government. A debt of $667 billion, and they are here today to criticise the government—a government that is trying to fix the problems they created. Mr Deputy Speaker, you know as well as I do that those opposite know how to spend the country's money—they know how to spend on the country's credit cards; they know how to create dodgy programs that not only waste money but have much deeper consequences.

What do they do when it comes to making the tough decisions? What do they do when it comes to getting things in order? Well, we know: they say, 'No.' They say: 'No, no, no.' It is no wonder that the member for Maribyrnong is no longer called the Leader of the Opposition; he is now known on this side as Dr No. He always has a cunning plan but is never willing to make the tough decisions—he does have evil plans, but I digress.

Mr Turnbull: And clever tricks.

Mrs GRIGGS: And clever tricks, yes, Minister. We have an Intergenerational report that says that we have serious financial trouble and it says that we need to take some serious steps to avoid the massive destabilising in times to come. We on this side are prepared to do all the hard yards to make some tough decisions in the best interests of our country. I know all too well the electoral effect of hard decisions, but they have to be made today in order to avoid the catastrophic effects in years to come.

Those opposite would not lift one little finger to help reform higher education, would they? My good friend and the good friend of the member for Dobell, the minister, Mr 'Fix-it' Pyne, is trying to make the sector sustainable, but what does he get from those opposite? He gets Dr No— and 'No, no, no, no'. This is from the same party that doctored the higher education budget figures before the election in 1996. Sometimes I wonder whether the truth is in permanent short supply when those opposite approach the dispatch box. But I do not wonder about the fact that I am so thankful that the nightmare six years of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era have come to an end. The worst of the lot of them—

Ms Butler interjecting

Mrs GRIGGS: You are not in your seat and so you should not even be speaking—

Mr Husic: That was a cutting point.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Chifley will be silent.

Mrs GRIGGS: I am quite entitled to remind the Speaker and point out that the member is not in her seat. She does it all the time—she is a serial offender. The worst of it is Dr No can only say 'No' to anything sensible. No, no, no. He has difficulty in saying 'Yes'. We know that he has no answers for this year that was supposed to be the year of ideas and the year of opportunity, that Labor promised to give us. What have they given us? Only no, no, no. You can still hear it in the interjections—'No, no, no'. It is amazing that all I can hear is 'No, no, no'. That is the sound ringing in my ears. I look forward to seeing the minister, Mr 'Fix-it' Pyne, get back to looking at the higher education area because he is going to fix this problem. He is Mr Fix it, and Mr 'Fix-it' Pyne is actually going to fix it.

Opposition members interjecting

Mrs GRIGGS: You guys gave him the name, and we gladly take it. He finds a problem and he fixes. He is going to be known in this case as Minister 'Fix-it' Pyne. Thank you, guys. We think that is a great title, because we know that he is actually going to deliver. He is not like those on the other side who can only say, 'No, no, no'. We know that Minister Pyne will fix the system because it is broken and it absolutely needs to be fixed.