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Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Page: 6163


Mr MORRISON (Cook) (21:21): I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this Banking Amendment (Unclaimed Money) Bill 2013 tonight, because the government not that long ago actually tried to shut this debate down. I and other members will now have the opportunity to speak after this debate adjourns tonight for the adjournment debate. We will come back again tomorrow and the other members of the coalition who wish to speak on this bill, of which there are still a number, will have that opportunity.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this bill, because, as I said, the government were defeated 70-68 on the floor of this House tonight when they were trying to shut down the further exposure of their failings in this very important bill in relation to unclaimed money. This bill seeks to clean up the mess of yet another government mistake. There was also a matter that was determined by this House earlier tonight. The Manager of Government Business was seeking to shut down a debate to try to ram through another important bill that at some stage will be considered by this House. That matter related to the government's overstretched 457 changes, which will have very significant implications. They have been subject to no consultation and there is no regulatory impact statement.

I am disappointed that the government were seeking to cut short the debate on this matter this evening. They were trying to usurp process and ram that other matter through this House tonight before a very important thing could be done to observe procedure—and that is the tabling of the Selection Committee report that deals with the referral of bills to committees. It is no secret—and I have said this publicly—that the coalition have sought to have the government's migration act changes to introduce the union red tape for 457s referred to the Standing Committee on Education and Employment. Whether that has been done is a matter that I am sure this House would like to know from the Selection Committee before it were to commence debate. If it is indeed being referred to that committee, then that debate should not and cannot proceed in this place.

I am sure that the member for McMahon would be interested in this because he is a member of that committee. I am sure he would welcome the opportunity. He and I may have had many disagreements on some matters, but one thing I will give the member for McMahon credit for is our bipartisanship on the importance of skilled migration. I am sure he would be interested in seeing how the fairly effective routine housekeeping reforms that were stewarded through the skilled migration advisory council, which could be done by regulation, were translated into this jumped up, sexed up claim that the now minister for immigration has been seeking to enforce on the debate. I am pleased that the government has been thwarted tonight in that fairly grubby attempt by the Manager of Government Business and that this House has asserted its authority on the government in voting them down on the floor of this House.

This matter before the House tonight is yet another example of cleaning up the government's mess. I am reminded of the former—and our greatest ever—Treasurer, the former member for Higgins, Peter Costello, who will always be remembered for his great achievements in that portfolio. No other people, except those on this side of this House, are ever willing to pay tribute to the greatest Treasurer we have ever had. No-one can do a better job than the current Treasurer, by his own appalling performance, to highlight the difference between the performance of the best Treasurer this country has ever had and the performance of the current Treasurer. I said in my maiden speech in this place almost six years ago that the then Treasurer, Peter Costello, was the greatest we have ever had—and that position is under no present threat. That remains as true today as it was when I said it almost six years ago.

There will be the opportunity for the member for North Sydney, if we are indeed elected and the Australian people bestow that great honour and responsibility on those on this side of the House, to show that he is up to the task. Many of us on this side of the House, if we are given that opportunity, will have big shoes to fill. In my case, the member for Berowra, the father of the House, has very big shoes to fill when it comes to immigration—if that is indeed what the Leader of the Opposition were to bestow on me. But the former member for Higgins, the greatest Treasurer, left big shoes to fill.

What we have here in this bill is an example of a government that has spent all of your money and has now got its hand down the back of the couch trying to find whatever loose change it can to make the payments. They fumbled in their first attempt to shore up their surplus, which never appeared. The surplus of this government is as elusive as Captain Emad himself as he skipped out of the country and out of the clutches of this government as easily as he sailed in on a boat—one of the more than 725 that have come to this country under this government's failed policies. What started out with the master and commander of border failures under this government and the former Prime Minister is only eclipsed by the current Prime Minister.

This bill seeks to take from the Australian people money which is theirs. It used to be said that, if you had a bad government, put your money under the bed. That used to be a joke. It is now true to the extent that, under this government's changes, they can reach into your account and rip it out, even if—given their folly on their original introduction of these measures—the account from which it is taken subsequently has a transaction. That is what happens with this government's 'ready, fire, aim' approach. We see it everywhere: we have seen it on pink batts, we have seen it on boats, we have seen it on budgets, we have seen it on the carbon tax—we have seen it on everything. Ready, fire and the aim comes later, because that is how this government operates. Tonight we saw that again from the Manager of Government Business. He swaggered in here seeking to throw his weight around this parliament and he was voted down. We voted him down in this, the people's house, the House of Representatives.

The show on that side is falling apart. The show on the other side is a sideshow; it is a soap opera where the script just keeps getting worse. The Manager of Government Business came in here and tried to jump the shark tonight and he fell in the tank—that is what happened to the Manager of Government Business and the government in this chamber tonight. I think losing the confidence on that bill in the House tonight sums up the chaos that is occurring in the government ranks at this most important time.

As we come to this place in these last few weeks of sittings, I know the Australian people will be itching and looking forward to the opportunity to have their say. This parliament had its say tonight. It had its say against a government that tried to enforce its grubby will on this parliament and they were rejected as they indeed should be. This is a government that also deserve to be rejected by the Australian people because they just cannot get anything right, and this bill proves that they are incompetent in their implementation once again.

Debate interrupted.