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Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Page: 7944


Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaDeputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Leader of The Nationals) (14:44): We reject this motion outright, Mr Speaker! We've got confidence in the Prime Minister.

But we know a few things about this opposition leader. We know that he stands for higher taxes. We know that he and his party stand for higher energy prices. And look at the sorry lot behind him! We've got the member for Watson. Let's not forget—people haven't got that short a memory not to recall what Labor stood for when it was in power. The member for Watson wanted to take the water rights, the irrigation rights, away from my farmers and away from farmers right throughout river communities in Australia. That's what he stood for.

And then we have the member for McMahon. Remember all of those boats? Look at the member for McMahon's face. His was the face that launched hundreds of ships. That's right—hundreds of ships! They came, and there were 55,000 people who arrived unauthorised. He was responsible for a lot of those. There were 1,200 deaths at sea, and that was tragic. There were 800 boats. Labor put more beds in detention centres than they ever put in hospitals.

Then we move along to the member for Port Adelaide.

Mr Brian Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lyons is warned.

Mr McCORMACK: What a sorry figure. He recently described the blackouts in South Australia which caused so much despair for businesses and families throughout South Australia as nothing more than 'a hiccup'.

Mr Brian Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lyons will leave under 94(a).

The member for Lyons then left the chamber.

Mr McCORMACK: Let's not forget the member for Rankin. He was the chief of staff for the member for Lilley, who stood at this very spot and said, 'The four years of surpluses I announce tonight.' Where are those four years of surpluses? That's why this nation is in so much trouble. It is because of the member for Lilley. Thank goodness he's still here, because every time we look at him we can remind ourselves of the debt and despair that Labor in six sorry years plunged this nation into.

Then we have the member for Shortland and the member for Hunter. They should listen more to the member for Paterson. She sounded them out recently. She did. She stuck up for coal workers. She stuck up for coalmines. She stuck up for coal-fired power stations. Good on you, Member for Paterson. Come over this way. We believe you. It's a shame the member for Shortland and the member for Hunter don't, because they don't stand up for coal workers. I tell you what—our people do. We stand up for coal workers and we stand up for all workers. That's what we do. That's why we are lowering the company tax rate. We are getting it down to 25 per cent. What does the member for Maribyrnong want to do? He wants to push it up well beyond 30 per cent. That's what Labor stand for. They don't stand up for workers. Look at the member for Maribyrnong's record—Chiquita Mushrooms and Cleanevent. He sold those union members out. Rest assured that, if he gets the opportunity as Prime Minister, he'll do it again.

Dr Mike Kelly interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: Don't you start, Member for Eden-Monaro. Why haven't you stood up? Why didn't you stand up for ships when Labor didn't build a ship? Not one ship did Labor build in six years. We are getting on with the job. We are spending billions on our defence program to make sure that our national security is what it ought to be. What did Labor do?

Dr Mike Kelly interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Eden-Monaro is warned.

Mr McCORMACK: They lowered the amount of spending on defence to its lowest level as a ratio to GDP since 1938. And we all know what happened in 1939. What else did Labor do? I'll tell you what they did—they shut down the live cattle trade to Indonesia. But did they tell Indonesia, one of our great trading partners? No, they didn't. They had to read about it in the media. Labor do not stand up for the regions. We proudly do. We are standing up for them at the moment. They are drought-stricken. I appreciate that that is a concern of all members of parliament, but we are standing up for those drought-stricken farmers. They must watch this debate and think—

Ms Owens interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Parramatta is warned.

Mr McCORMACK: 'What an unedifying spectacle that is.' They must think: 'Why are Labor carrying on like this? They should be standing up for the farming communities, standing up for workers, standing up for low energy costs and standing up for workers and families and all the things that are important to Australia.' But they are not. We are, and we will certainly continue to do that. We have got the back of the Prime Minister and the back of the Australian people.