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Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Page: 6100


Mr SIMPKINS (Cowan) (16:27): I do appreciate the opportunity to speak on the MPI today. This MPI is about stability and this MPI is about a stronger economy. Having just listened to the member for Deakin, there was a fair bit of paranoia there. It was as if the media were against them; it was as if the opinion of the public had nothing to do with this. You would think that it was all just about our opinion over here as opposed to what so many people around the country are saying. If you look at the letters to the editor and if you look at not just the front pages but even the ABC—that network really does represent mainstream Australia, whatever that is: 41 per cent Green voters and 32 per cent ALP voters—

A government member interjecting

Mr SIMPKINS: Even the ABC casts doubt on you guys! It is not just some right-wing media. Even the ABC has a go! The government just dismisses the instability. Have you really read what is going on? Do you really have confidence in the fact that people are behind you and your Prime Minister? The contrast on the other side is a team that is absolutely united behind someone who people can have trust in.

A government member: Who is that then?

Mr SIMPKINS: Yes—you would know that. It is the guy that the government has been talking about. Not a sentence goes past without the government mentioning Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Opposition. Not a sentence goes past! It is like word bingo—

Government members interjecting

Mr SIMPKINS: You guys have to live with it! You keep thinking that there is a liability here, when he is our greatest strength. He is someone with integrity, and that is in contrast to the Prime Minister—

A government member: Oh, it's Tony!

Mr SIMPKINS: That is so clear now. Even the ABC says that. Even the media says that. The Australian people say that as well. That is why there is so much instability over there, because you guys know it as well. You know what the liabilities are—and they are all sitting over there.

When we talk about what is going on around here, what the Australian people look to this place for, and look to any government for, is to make their lives better. That is why we are here. We are not here because we suddenly want to sit on that side. We are not here because we want the chequebook. We are here because we believe that this country can be a better place and that our role, everything we do, is about making the lives of people on the streets of our country better. That is what it is all about. It is not about who sits on that side. It is about the lives of the people of this country. That is why we are meant to be here and that is what we should be concentrating on.

I go out on the streets and I doorknock a lot. People come up to me in the shopping centres of my electorate, and even in some other places as well, and they talk about the things that are most important to them. They talk about three things constantly when I am out in my electorate. The first points are about trust and failures, which they talk about with regard to this government. There is the carbon tax: five days before the election the Prime Minister said 'no carbon tax under a government I lead' and after the election there is a carbon tax. Of course the deal had to be done with the Greens, so that was the very clear betrayal of the people by the Prime Minister.

On failures, there is the mining tax: the tax that has been negative for investment and cannot even recoup the money that the government now spends against that tax. There was a ban on cattle—that overreaction. What happened with that? It cast all sorts of problems on the north of Australia. It put Indigenous people out of work, caused businesses to fail, destroyed or damaged the livelihoods of so many people in the north and damaged our reputation with Indonesia. It was: 'Oh, yes, I've got a good idea'—because of some social media program, some ABC report—'let's suddenly just tell Indonesia we're not sending them any more food, just cut off the food.' No wonder they took that pretty hard. The surplus is another failure of this government. So many promises, so little delivery—pretty typical, sadly. And there is the NBN: a lot of problems these days, massive cost blow-outs, way behind schedule and now the asbestos fiasco as well. It just goes on and on.

Today the minister of mendaciousness, the man who uses the thesaurus to cast the word 'lies' across the chamber, had the gall to lecture us on Holden when this government presided over the departure of Ford from this country—$34 million and Ford ceased production on the day before the government's new emission standards started. That is not exactly a record they should be proud of.

The next point that people are raising is about the budget. Throughout my time here, since I was first elected at the end of 2007, on no occasion have the budget figures of surplus or deficit or even the predictions of the government figures ever matched up. They have always been worse than the government have predicted. There have also been the massive borrowings that now see gross debt closing in on $300 million, and apparently it will exceed that before the end of the year. And another betrayal, which I missed mentioning before, was on the private health insurance rebate: the government said they would not touch it but they have.

I am now running out of time, but the next point—which is a Western Australian thing, though I guess it is raised more and more across this country—is the government's failure on boats. This is the failure that former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd presided over. He assured us in this place that the changes he would make would not see the boats commence again. How wrong that was. We are now up to more than 700 boats and more than 44,000 illegal arrivals—all, of course, at the cost of those legitimate refugees who are out there in refugee camps around the world and do not have money to bypass the system. I ask: how compassionate is that?

This government is constantly on the lips of people who come up to speak to me about trust and failures, about Labor's budget failures and their mismanagement of the boats, the borders and immigration. Alternatively, what is required? What is required is the return of hope, reward and opportunity in this country, with a leader that can be trusted, backed up by an experienced team. As was said earlier, on the opposition front bench there are 16 former ministers and a team of people who have great experience from across business, from trades, from science, from so many different areas. That is what is available to the Australian people. So there is an alternative option here: a proven track record from a successful government, a government that knew how to control the borders, how to balance a budget, how to keep this country in good shape. Australians may choose to take up that opportunity, and that opportunity is coming in some 88 days.

There is a contrast. There is a leader with integrity, a front bench with experience and a back bench with a great range of skills across so many different areas. Alternatively, what have you got? The latest government play book will be about blue ties, raising state issues like abortion as if that is suddenly some sort of banner the Prime Minister can hang her hat on, and 457 visa attacks. That really does go to it, doesn't it? The Prime Minister would not want to talk about visas when she herself has a 457 visa holder in her office, but 457 visas is something the government wants to pursue. So there is a great contrast between integrity, trust and experience on this side and a proven mob of failures, of people without trust and with failures on budgets, immigration and boats.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr S Georganas ): Order! This discussion is now concluded.