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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13611


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:27): I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Member for Warringah from moving immediately:

That this House censures the Prime Minister for the deceptive, dysfunctional and directionless government she leads which doesn't trust the people, doesn't consult the people but which always consults Bob Brown and the Greens and is now headed for a crisis mini budget.

This year Bob Brown did the deciding and the Prime Minister delivered what he wanted. Bob Brown wanted a carbon tax, so the Prime Minister broke her solemn promise to the Australian people and hit families with the world's biggest carbon tax. Bob Brown wanted a dirty deal in the dead of night on the mining tax, so what did this Prime Minister do—the Prime Minister that has just, shamefully, scurried out of this chamber? She delivered.

And after deciding on the East Timor solution, the Manus Island solution and then the failed Malaysia people swap, what did this Prime Minister do? The Prime Minister who does not have the courage and the principle to face up to this parliament today—what did she do? She gave Bob Brown what he wanted all along: onshore processing.

This is a Prime Minister who claims that this has been the year of decision and delivery. Wrong, wrong, wrong. This has been the year of backflips and broken promises. There is the carbon tax based on a lie. There is the mining tax based on a secret deal. There is the border protection policy in an absolute shambles as the boats just keep coming day in, day out.

This is a government which illustrated in this parliament last night the totally chaotic and shambolic process that is the Gillard way of government, and that is why standing orders must be suspended. The mining tax was based on a secret deal done with the three big miners. Then more deals were cut with the various Independents. Then there was a second secret deal, done in the dead of night last night with the people who really pull the strings in this government. The Treasurer, who is sitting there at the ministerial table now, said that this is a deal which will stand the test of time. This deal did not last until breakfast time this morning. It has been changed five times and will be changed again and again as this panicked government goes to its crisis mini-budget next week.

This is a mining tax. It is a bad tax from a bad government. It is a secret tax from a bad government which is run not by its own backbench but, fundamentally, by the real Prime Minister of this country: Bob Brown. This deal was done without any knowledge of the cabinet, without any knowledge of the ministers, without any knowledge even of the Independents—but they can speak for themselves. I say to the minister at the table: if the Independents knew anything about the deal that had been cut with the Greens, why don't they tell us what they knew? Oh, no. It was not ministers. It was not the caucus. It was not the cabinet. It was not even the Independents. No, it was just two people who knew what was really going on in this parliament last night. It is this Prime Minister and the person who pulls the strings in this government: Bob Brown.

Everything about this mining tax is bad. The first version of the mining tax would have killed the mining boom stone dead. This is the industry which saved this country from a recession, and what is the reward that this government gives this vital industry which has saved Australia from a recession, this vital industry which is essential to the prosperity which every family in this country needs and cherishes? Their reward is a great big new tax that will cost jobs and cost investment. The first version of the mining tax would have killed the goose that laid the golden egg for Australia. The second version, cobbled together in secret with three big miners who had a gun to their heads from a government which practises payback, is a version that will punish the entrepreneurial local companies that this country will rely on if the mining industry is to expand in the years ahead.

This is a government which just does not get it when it comes to the prosperity of our country. This is a government which is consistent only in its desperate scramble to survive. The carbon tax was the greatest example of deception from this government. We have a Prime Minister who said one thing to win votes before an election and did the opposite to stay in office after the election, but what was done last night was all of a piece with the carbon tax. Like the carbon tax, it was another special deal done with the Greens and the Australian parliament and the Australian people were the last people to know. We all know that the Greens hate the mining tax. We all know that the Greens are fundamentally opposed to a modern economy which depends upon mining and resources in this country for the prosperity which each Australian needs.

This is a bad tax from a bad government which just does not get the essence of a modern economy. This government does not understand that you cannot have a society—you cannot have a community—without an economy to sustain it. You cannot have a functioning economy without profitable businesses, and profitable businesses cannot be taxed as soon as they start succeeding. What this government does not understand is that the last thing you should do if you want to improve the economy of this country is penalise success. You do not penalise success if you want to improve our economy. You do not give an uncovenanted advantage to this country's competitors. Above all else, you do not speed up the slow lane of our economy by slowing down the fast lane. This is what this government fundamentally does not understand.

This government thinks that somehow you can build prosperity with new taxes. No country ever got rich by increasing taxation. No country ever built a strong economy by clobbering itself with tax after tax after tax. It is typical of this government that it cannot even get it right. It is hitting our economy with two big new taxes and in the process is opening up a $10 billion budget black hole. More taxes, even more spending, even more borrowing—that is the Labor way, and that is the way to disaster for our country.

Every time the Prime Minister got up in question time today, every time the Prime Minister got up in question time yesterday, every minister who gets up—and let me let you in on a little secret, Mr Speaker: when the minister gets up in a few moments time, he will say, 'This is an opposition that says no to everything.' I looked at the paper yesterday, and there it is:

The Sydney Morning Heraldproudly says no.

No to fear.

No to favours.

No to pulling punches.

…   …   …

No one person's influence.

…   …   …

No to agendas.

Well, I am like that—I say no to Bob Brown's influence and no to the Green agenda. I have to say I am quite happy to say no to what is destroying the prosperity of this country and I am happy to be on— (Time expired)

The SPEAKER: Is the motion seconded?