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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1069


Ms RYAN (LalorOpposition Whip) (15:53): There it is again. We've got a government bereft of an agenda and devoid of a vision. Let's face it: they've just now proved that they are an organisational blackspot. They are the blackspots that they want to talk about all the time. They tell us they'll fund blackspots if they're in regions. Well, this chamber is a blackspot region today. They can't manage to get speakers up on the MPI. There are flights leaving Canberra. They're in a hurry to get home. Again, they're avoiding work in this place.

The Australian people returned this government with some expectations. When they see this MPI today they will be sorely disappointed to find out that they can't get speakers on their own legislation, and to find out today that three times they've failed to provide a pair in this place for someone on maternity leave. They can't get anything organised. They certainly have no agenda but they have got slogans. They've got slogans and they've got a new one every day. We started, before the election, with, 'If you have a go, you'll get a go.' They persisted with that.

I'm going to share a constituent's story here, because I think it pretty much tells the story of the last six years of the ATM government. I was contacted by a single mother in my electorate. She has three children all under 10 years of age. Her husband left her and her children. She sought support from our safety net. She applied in May 2018 for a single parent pension. This payment was not granted until February 2019. If there's an agenda item that those opposite need to put on their meeting schedule, that's it: Centrelink. They have no plan to improve the wait times, not for that mother, not for pensioners and not for students waiting for Austudy for over a semester. They have no plan to address those things.

They have no plans to support growth areas, like the area that I represent. They have no plan to deal with the tens of thousands of bridging visas that they are granting. They are completely unaware that there are people who are tied up in that bridging visa program coming to my office to say, 'Joanne, my son is turning five. He needs to go to school.' They come into my office, as I am an educator and a former school principal who knows the rules. There is no place for that child in the education system in this country without their family paying international fees, but you give them a bridging visa and tell them that their child can just sit at home and do nothing. Shame on this government.

This is a government that not only is without an agenda and without a vision but also doesn't even know what's going on in this country. They don't even know how people are living. I tell you what they do have. They have some ideology. Every time we raise an issue, they come back with ideology. There is no vision and no plan; just ideology. They just have a determination to punish the most vulnerable in our communities. They just have a determination to ensure that those who live in certain postcodes know their place and stay in their place. They have no plan for education other than to entrench privilege and to keep those who have come from a lesser background down in their place. That is their agenda—if the government have one.

I don't think they even know that they're doing that. I don't think they know much at all about what's going on. I think the absolute best example of their ideology, over having a plan or vision, is that we are in this place waiting for legislation to deal with the recommendations of the Hayne royal commission into the banks. The whole country knows that that behaviour was not acceptable. The whole country knows that the government have done nothing to address those issues in this place over these last two sitting weeks. The government have done absolutely nothing. With the royal commission into aged care or the royal commission into abuse of the disabled, what hope do the Australian people have that they will get anything from those royal commissions? What this government is doing in this country is absolutely shameful. Instead of saying, 'How good is Australia?' they are saying, 'How good is ideology?'