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Thursday, 25 August 2011
Page: 5577


Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (15:12): It is clear to me, judging by the rhetoric Senator Moore has used for the last five minutes on this motion to take note of Senator Carr's answer, that no-one told her that the 'moving forward' slogan from the last election was dumped when the 'real Julia' came out. This is the most ridiculous defence of a very poor government that I have ever heard. They keep talking about their plans for the future—for 2015 and 2020 and 2025. It is all going to come to nought. We on the benches on this side are exposing the folly, the uselessness and the hopeless­ness of this government, and they are saying that this is what is causing a crisis in manu­facturing. The Senate chamber on the government side is in complete and utter denial. The activities and actions of the government are what is paralysing industry in this country. The people of Australia have no confidence in your ability to manage any policy program or implement it in an effective, fair and balanced manner.

The evidence is very clear to see, and the warnings were equally clear. I remember standing up in this place and warning that Senator Carr, as the industry minister responsible for manufacturing, would take the giant leap backwards, and that is clearly what has happened here. We have lost 105,000 jobs under this minister in this area. Manufacturing employment is under a million for the very first time that I can recall. We are going backwards at a rate of knots, and it is not our fault; it is your fault—not you specifically, Senator Moore, but it is the government's fault. They turn everything they touch into dust—and that is the most polite way I can manage to say it. I remember when Senator Carr, in his original incarnation as innovation minister, was claiming it a great innovation to send text messages into space, in the hope that some life form up there would be able to respond and give him some guidance about what to do with industry back here on earth. I am saying to Senator Carr, and the others on the government side, that they should take their heads out of the clouds and get their focus not on space but back on earth. They should bring their focus back to earth and confront their demons—and their demons are large and they are many.

The government cannot manage money, they cannot implement policy programs, they have no consistent narrative in which they can build a framework to take this country forward. That is very clear. That is why the people of Australia are protesting. That is why the people of Australia have no confi­dence in this government. And that is why this government are languishing. They are languishing not only in the polls but internally—the morale is at the lowest it has ever been.

Senator Marshall: That's not true!

Senator BERNARDI: The morale of the Australian people is at the lowest it has ever been. Of course, we know Senator Marshall is buoyant and joyous, because he loves to thrive on the chaos over there as the Left are taking control! But, you know, Senator Marshall, not everyone indulges in your sense of schadenfreude. Not everyone takes pleasure out of the pity and misery of others, let me tell you. We will let you occupy that rare niche with your band of followers over there, clearly one of whom voted for you for President of this chamber—given that it wasn't you!

Returning to the matters of substance that really do concern the Australian people: it is about job security, it is about the cost-of-living issues, it is about these new taxes that are coming in from this government. It seems to me that there is a huge level of denial, a denial that this government is responsible for the bad policies, that it is responsible for these massive budget deficits, that its carbon tax is going to increase the cost of living for families and is going to drive industry out.

I heard a story the other day about Mr Dreyfus QC, from the other place, who was confronted by an angry man who said, 'This carbon tax is going to put the cost of my electricity in my manufacturing plant up by $250,000 or so.' And Mr Dreyfus said, 'See, you've got nothing to worry about'! This is the level of denial that is creeping out into the public. The Labor Party are so removed from reality that they say, 'This doesn't matter; it'll be okay in 2013 or 2015, and we are on the right track.' We are not on the right track. We have taken the wrong path. We have taken the low road. It is the road that is leading Australia downhill. We need to replace this government. That is some­thing that the Australian people agree on. If you are not convinced of that, take it to an election. (Time expired)