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Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Page: 2414

Prime Minister


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (VictoriaActing Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate) (14:55): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. I refer to the Prime Minister, who, prior to deposing former Prime Minister Abbott, said:

The one thing that is clear about our current situation is the trajectory. We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott's leadership.

Does the Prime Minister stand by his statement?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:56): I thank Senator Collins for that question. Australia is on so much better a trajectory today than we were. The trajectory that we are on now is a trajectory of 420,000 more jobs. We are on a trajectory of implementing our plan for the economy, for jobs and growth. The Australian people are still waiting for Labor's plan for jobs and growth. Let me mention something to the Labor Party that might sound familiar to you: 'It's time'—it's time for your plan for jobs and growth. Let me say that again: 'It's time.' Do you want me to go for the jingle? It's time for your plan for jobs and growth. You see, Labor doesn't have a plan for jobs and growth. You have a plan for higher taxes and for more spending.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins, on a point of order?

Senator Jacinta Collins: Thank you, Mr President. The point of order is in relation to relevance. The 'trajectory' that was being referred to in that quote was Newspoll.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, on the point of order?

Senator Wong: Far be it from me to gainsay one of my colleagues, but it may be that 'It's time' is actually directly relevant!

The PRESIDENT: It's the last question time before the budget. Senator Cormann has a minute and 11 seconds to continue his answer.

Senator CORMANN: I'm so pleased that Senator Wong agrees that it's time for Labor's plan for jobs and growth, because there is none. The only side of politics that has a plan for jobs and growth, which is delivering results, is the Liberal and Nationals parties'. And let me tell you that the trajectory that Australia is on today is a much better trajectory than the one that we inherited from the Labor Party. When we came into government, the economy was weakening; unemployment was rising; the budget position was deteriorating. You know what? Today, the economy is strengthening, employment growth is strengthening, the unemployment rate is below where it was expected to be and the budget position is improving. We are now on track to a believable return to surplus. That is what the Australian people are interested in. The Australian people are not interested in the juvenile political games of the Labor Party. You continue to play student politics. We will continue to focus on the national interest and on implementing our plan for jobs and growth.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Collins, a supplementary question?









Senator JACINTA COLLINS (VictoriaActing Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate) (14:58): I remind the minister that the trajectory being referred to by the Prime Minister was the Newspoll trajectory. Given that the Turnbull government has now lost 29 Newspolls in a row, by the Prime Minister's own measure isn't it clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Turnbull's leadership—or is he waiting for just one more loss?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:59): Let me give you another answer that may sound familiar to you. Do you know what we're going to do? We're going to do you slowly.

Honourable senators interjecting

Senator CORMANN: We're going to continue to implement our plan for jobs and growth.

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Cormann! I'm hearing interjections I didn't think I'd hear. Senator Wong on a point of order.

Senator Wong: The point of order is on direct relevance—and you're no Paul Keating, mate. You're no Paul Keating.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Cormann.

Senator CORMANN: Do you know what Paul Keating used to do? Paul Keating used to stand for lower business taxes. Paul Keating used to argue that Australian businesses need to be able to compete with businesses around the world. Paul Keating used to be in favour of opening up the Australian economy to global competition. I know that Senator Carr sits there squirming in his chair as I talk about the glorious period of Labor governments past when they actually believed in free trade and open markets. Let me tell you: this government will continue to work very hard to ensure that the families of Australia have the best possible opportunity to get ahead, and that includes an absolutely firm commitment that we will continue to make the case for why we need to reduce business taxes in Australia, and the day will come when the Labor Party— (Time expired)

Government senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my right! Senator Collins, a final supplementary question.








Senator JACINTA COLLINS (VictoriaActing Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate) (15:01): Does the Prime Minister agree with former Prime Minister Abbott, who says, 'You are always better the second time around'?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (15:01): I refer Senator Collins to my previous two answers. Mr President, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.