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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 178


Dr LEIGH (Fraser) (16:22): I rise to speak in continuation. In the intervening period since I last spoke we have had an extraordinary intervention. I was speaking about broken promises by this government and we just had a question time in which the Treasurer was asked whether we will have three AAA ratings at the end of this government's term in office. He responded: 'I would certainly hope so. We were the ones who got them in the first place.' I have heard of a wing and a prayer, but that is, frankly, a hope and a mistruth, because of course three AAA credit ratings came under Labor, not under the coalition.

The second broken promise was the pledge that Public Service cuts would come by natural attrition. In my electorate, a postgraduate student, Dionne Wong, is one of dozens of young people deeply disappointed after their contracts were terminated. After having signed a contract with AusAID, DFAT has told her she is 'surplus to requirements'. That is not natural attrition; that is smashing the dreams of young people. At the same time we have seen AusAID staff being brought into the DFAT atrium, herded in like cattle, while DFAT colleagues look down upon them from the higher floors and one of them mimes machine-gunning the AusAID staff. That is not the way to bring about change management in an organisation.

Maybe I should not be surprised that a government without a science minister is slashing the CSIRO. Again, it is not by natural attrition but brutal cuts that will soon turn into forced redundancies.

There is a third broken promise. On 26 September the Prime Minister said:

The assurance that I give the superannuants and the superannuation savers of Australia is there has been no adverse changes to their superannuation arrangements under this government.

This is false. Three million low-income earners will have the low income superannuation contribution taken away from them. For them, this is indeed an adverse change.

In his Fraser lecture the Leader of the Opposition recounted how at his campaign launch Paul Keating had said Labor was on the side of the angels, and that the angels are:

… the men and women of Australia … who make the place what it is, the ones who've got nothing to sell but their labour, nothing to sell but their time. No capital, particularly, and who need the support of the political system to give them a better standard of living, a better way of life and a better future.

This is what Labor stands for and that is what we on this side of the House will be fighting for over the next three years.

The SPEAKER: Before I call the member for Lindsay, I remind the House that this is the honourable member's first speech. I ask the House to extend to her the usual courtesies.