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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 171

Mr SWAN (Lilley) (10:35): Today I would like to acknowledge the election of a new state Labor team in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. I am sure they will work hard across our northern suburbs to ensure that working families will get a fair go. Congratulations to Stirling Hinchcliffe, Leanne Linard, Dr Anthony Lynham and Yvette D'Ath.

It is appropriate on a day such as this, a day when the Liberal Party makes itself the centre of attention yet again, that we focus on the lessons the Australian people are trying to teach them—if only they would listen. Over the last few days and weeks we have heard Liberal after Liberal try to explain why the Abbott government finds itself in the position that it is in. None of them has come even close to a credible explanation. Of course, if we look to Queensland that explanation is staring them in the face. What we saw in Queensland from Cape York to the Tweed was that Queenslanders gave an emphatic rejection of the trickle-down economics practised by Premier Newman and Prime Minister Abbott. Both brazenly lied about cuts before the election, were elected and then imposed those cuts, particularly in health and education. Of course, once they came to office, they sought to camouflage all of that by talking down our economy. The result has been a dramatic drop in consumer sentiment and business confidence, weaker growth and, of course, higher unemployment.

The response of the conservative establishment across the nation to this electoral earthquake was to not admit what the cause of all this is—that is, the unfair policies at the heart of both the Newman government and the Abbott government, their bungled budgets and their failure to accurately describe and deal with the economic challenges we face as a nation. They and their conservative barrackers in the media screech that reform is now impossible rather than acknowledge that it is the unfairness of the changes they are putting in place that is the cause of the electoral earthquake and the rejection of the Liberal Party—state and federal.

There are plenty of reforms that voters will support—reforms which will drive growth and where the benefits are shared fairly. The problem with Mr Abbott and Mr Newman is that their only vision is division. Savage cuts to the social safety net, lower taxes and lower wages are not reform. They are trickle-down economics, which internationally have produced a concentration of wealth at the top, an army of working poor and, of course, a hollowing out of the middle class.

They are not listening to this message. The issue here is not the jockey. It is the nag that they are riding: the nag that wants to kill off Medicare; the nag that wants to make university education inaccessible to working families; the nag that divides our nation into lifters and leaders; and the nag that is ridden by a jockey whose ideals are more with medieval England than with modern Australia. (Time expired)