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Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Page: 282


Senator SMITH (Western Australia) (15:08): The gall of Labor senators, of Senator Cameron, to come in here in the first week of the new parliamentary year to talk about lies and chaos!

Opposition senators interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! The Senate needs to come to order.

Senator SMITH: I would like to talk about good government for a moment. Last week was an important anniversary. Next week will be an important anniversary. I am just wondering whether colleagues on the Labor side know what those two anniversaries are.

Opposition senators interjecting

Senator SMITH: You don't even know the first anniversary! What about the second anniversary—

Opposition senators interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Let me remind senators again that—

Senator Bilyk interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I am actually speaking, Senator Bilyk. I remind senators that they should address the remarks through the chair.

Senator SMITH: Mr Deputy President, let me remind you of two important anniversaries. The first is 3 February. You might recall that as the day Fraser called the 1983 election and Hawke replaced Hayden. The second important anniversary is 16 February, the day Mr Hawke gave a very important election speech. It is shameful that a coalition senator should have to educate Labor senators about their own political history. I would like to demonstrate an important point: Labor people themselves are trying to tell Labor senators in this place to perform better. Do not think for one moment that these people on the other side are representative of the views of Labor's former leaders or even of the views of people in the current Labor Party. Let me reflect briefly on what Mr Hawke had to say on 16 February 1983. Talking about the economic situation, Mr Hawke said: 'We'—the federal Labor Party—'will not be able to just spend that way out of the mess. We must work our way out of it together. Australia needs long-term national solutions.' Let us jump ahead to last year and what Bob Hawke said about the performance of Labor senators and the federal Labor opposition. As reported in The Australian newspaper, Mr Hawke said what is required is the same thing as he had to experience. He said: 'It is important to have a Prime Minister and a Treasurer and a competent ministry which understands the issue and is prepared to make hard decisions.' He went on to say: 'We could not go on maintaining the standard of living that we have become accustomed to. Structural adjustments to the economy must happen and spending must be cut across the board.'

Let us look at what Bill Hayden had to say just a few of months ago. He said Labor senators, the federal Labor opposition, needed to establish some economic credibility. He urged federal Labor to be a party that built economic credibility with voters and he stressed the need to reduce the influence of factions and reform the party's internal structures and overhaul its policies to regain government. This is a Labor opposition in the Senate that is not even listening to the informed experience of former Labor leaders Bob Hawke and Bill Hayden.

Let us jump briefly to an important admission that unfortunately was lost over the last two weeks. I do not mind saying that, for a brief moment over the last few weeks, the government lost its focus—and Labor got away with a couple of important things. But you cannot escape how it was reported in the paper. Labor's shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen, said, 'Labor doesn't rule out cuts to payments.' Ooh, silence!

Opposition senators interjecting

Senator SMITH: Didn't you see that, Senator Polley? I will send it to you.

Senator Bilyk interjecting

Senator SMITH: Oh, you did see it?

Senator Bilyk: Mr Deputy President, on a point of order: the senator should actually call me by the correct name if he wants to try and insult me.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Bilyk. Senator Smith, I regret to inform you that your time is up.