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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1070

Ms STANLEY (WerriwaOpposition Whip) (15:58): The signs were there in the lead-up to the election that the Liberals had no agenda and no purpose for this country. In my electorate of Werriwa, the government announced no plans, no additional spending and no additional infrastructure—nothing. The Labor Party had a plan for Werriwa. We had a long list of commitments: $2 million for the Middleton Drive extension, half a million dollars for the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, a fuel line to Western Sydney Airport and over $25 million in additional funding for schools. On a litany of issues, this government has no plan, no agenda and no purpose.

It is a really strange place in history in which we currently find ourselves. We are confronted with major issues and existential challenges. Yet, despite these challenges, we are in a bizarre situation where we have the answers and we have solutions, but what we don't have is a government willing to act. The answers are there. The experts are telling us. The business sector is telling us. The community is telling us. On energy policy, the answers are there, and also on climate change and on reconciliation.

In the previous term I had the privilege of sitting on the Energy and Environment Committee. In both public and private hearings the message was loud and clear: a well-functioning energy grid needs policy certainty. A stable energy grid must be underpinned by stable energy policy. Policy certainty addresses both pricing and supply. Policy certainty allows genuine long-term investment in power generation and provision. Certainty provides a stimulus for supply through new investments in plan and for innovation through funding, research and development. Instead, all we've got from this government is big sticks, then little sticks, then no sticks. And now apparently they're replacing all those sticks with rods—nuclear fuel rods. We've got backbenchers freelancing on nuclear power plants and the energy minister backing them in. Apparently he has an open mind when it comes to nuclear power.

The minister needs to tell us where these nuclear power plants are going. Are we expanding Lucas Heights? What does the member for Hughes think about that? Or Perth? Perhaps the Gold Coast? Maybe Port Phillip Bay? While we're discussing the energy minister, if you're hoping for climate change action on the part of the Morrison government you're going to be waiting for a long time. With government ministers saying A and backbenchers saying B and C, it's clear that the Morrison government can't reconcile its own energy policy with its backbenchers.

And while we're on reconciliation, the way forward is clear: the Uluru Statement from the Heart is a national Indigenous consensus position. Our First Nation Australians are dying too soon, are educated far less, are incarcerated too often and suffer more preventable disease. The numbers show the tragedy in real terms. Over a quarter of incarcerated adults in this country are First Nation Australians. Nearly half of all juveniles incarcerated are First Australians. In 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death among our First Australian children. And we can't come to any policy certainty. It is terrible. One in 10 households in public housing are Indigenous. That says how much we are helping them and looking towards their future. The Constitution can no longer be a mark of a white man settlement here. It must recognise those who were here first and their deep connection to their land and their culture. The Minister for Indigenous Affairs appears to share the Labor Party's views on constitutional recognition. But in no less than a week after apparent bipartisan commitment we saw a captain's recall from Prime Minister Morrison in respect of what Minister Wyatt had said.

We on this side are committing to ensuring that our First Nation people are recognised, respected and supported. Where is the government's plan? What is the plan on climate change and on energy policy? This government is short on plans and has no purpose. I'm feeling generous. The Labor Party and I and all my colleagues on this side of the House took lots and lots of great ideas to the election. And do you know what? Lots of people voted for those policies. I really encourage those on the opposite benches to take some of ours. We'd be happy for our people to start getting what they deserve out of this country.