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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 1817

Dr HENDY (Eden-Monaro) (15:54): I am pleased to rise on this matter of public importance. When my children were toddlers they had an expression they used when someone said or repeated something a bit bizarre. They would say that a person must have been hit in the head with a silly stick. That must be what has happened to opposition members today. It is either that or we have some very lame humourists on the opposition benches. For them to propose that the government is undermining confidence is absolutely bizarre. The matter of public importance submitted by the opposition today talks about an undermining of public confidence by the government. Is the opposition serious? Are we to infer from this MPI that Labor had somehow built up public confidence during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd shambles of the last six years? Do they think that confidence had reached a high point under their administration? Do they believe that?

This poses the question: why did Labor lose the election? I suggest they lost because the Australian people had lost confidence in their stewardship and their handling of major policies. For example, Gonski had become an act of faith for them but the policy specifics were a mess. The Minister for Education has had to fix up the shambles and is producing a real national model. Similarly, the National Broadband Network had become a farce. It was a fantasy. People in my electorate knew that. It was all on the never-never. People in my electorate were told by the Labor MP before the election that they would become the new Silicon Valley of Australia. But there was no NBN in sight—not one fibre-to-the-premises connection occurred in Eden-Monaro in the last six years. The Minister for Communications has put that vital major national infrastructure project back on track.

When a party promise no carbon tax and then implement one, and when you say as a party you will deliver a surplus and then fess up and say very late in the term that it is all too hard and not possible, you cannot seriously think that somehow that party had the people's confidence. Confidence was at a low point—that is why they are over there, in opposition. I am bemused by this MPI. Let me quote from a recent Roy Morgan research report:

Roy Morgan Research's Business Confidence survey in September showed that Australian business confidence rose to the highest level since January 2011 following the federal election. The rise of 14.7 points to a score of 134.3 is the biggest monthly increase in Business Confidence recorded since the survey began in December 2010.

The people of Australia can be very confident that this government is getting on with the job. We have returned certainty to all those people who were to be ripped off by the FBT on car leases—as we said before the election we would do. The people can be confident that we are implementing our border protection policies, as we said before the election we would do. We have cut illegal arrivals by over 80 per cent. We are getting rid of the destructive carbon tax, as we said before the election we would do. We are getting rid of the destructive mining tax, as we said before the election we would do. People can be confident that we are getting the debt problem under control, as we said before the election we would do. We are getting on with free trade agreements. We have heard today about the Korean free trade agreement—something we said before the election we would implement. We are re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission, a vital economic reform for this country—something we said before the election we would do, and we are getting on with it.

We can be confident in one thing—that the people have no confidence in Labor. Get out of the way and let us clean up the mess. When we were in opposition we tried to stop the then government from breaking their promises, and they are now try to stop us from keeping ours. The hypocrisy is breathtaking—as is this MPI topic.