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Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Page: 8510

Senator RONALDSON (Victoria) (13:03): I rise today to make a short contribution to this debate. In doing so I would like to draw your attention, Mr Acting Deputy President, to two key things that happened here today. One was out of the mouths of babes: Senator Milne and Senator Bob Brown talking about power sharing. This is what the Australian Labor Party has got itself into—a situation where they are now power sharing with the Australian Greens. And the other aspect of this was the galleries today. They were full. They were full of Labor staffers. Where were the Australians who were due down here to vent their anger about the carbon tax? There is a group of lefties sitting at the other end there and there were trendy lefties, and the rest of them, quite frankly, were Labor Party staffers. People did not come here today, because they do not believe this government and they most certainly do not believe in this package of bills.

I want to mention five people in particular. I send out a very clear message to these five people and to others behind them. They are the most marginal Labor members in the other place and I will go through their seats: they are the members for Corangamite, Deakin, Greenway, Robertson and Lindsay. Can I tell every one of them: we are coming for you. I want to talk about two in particular, two gutless wonders who do not have the intestinal fortitude to speak on these bills—and they just happen to be the two most marginal seats in the other place; what a remarkable coincidence—the member for Corangamite and the member for Deakin. The two most marginal Labor members in this country did not speak on this debate. Why would they not speak on this debate? Because they know, we know and those sitting opposite know that they were elected on the back of a lie. As a patron senator for Corangamite, I well remember the Prime Minister coming down and repeating the promise that there would be no carbon tax under a government that she led, with the member for Corangamite standing beside her and nodding in agreement.

There has been a lot of talk about what the Prime Minister has said, but I want to repeat the words of the Treasurer of this country, the second most important person politically in this country. On 15 August on Meet the Press the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said:

... what we rejected is this hysterical allegation that somehow we are moving towards a carbon tax ...

and again, on The 7.30 Report, he said:

We have made our position very clear. We have ruled it out.

This is a government elected on the back of a lie. Every Labor member of parliament was elected on the back of a lie.

As Senator Abetz, Senator Brandis and all my colleagues said in the last week before these bills were gagged, you are not here on the back of a proper election; you do not deserve to be in this place; you can only deserve to be here if you go back to the polls and let the Australian people make the decision, as they should have in the first place. Mr Acting Deputy President, you saw the looks on the faces of those opposite today—because they knew that the poisoned chalice had been delivered to the Australian Labor Party.

As I said here last week, you are a party that have abrogated your philosophical lives to the Australian Greens. In the space of 18 bills you have given up the right to call yourselves the Australian Labor Party. You are now in a power-sharing arrangement with a group of people who are philoso­phically opposed to the great majority of those who sit opposite. But you sit there like lemmings and follow a Prime Minister who lied her way into office. What is going to happen is the Australian people will make sure that the person who lied her way into office is removed from office.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Furner ): Order! Senator Ronaldson, I seek your withdrawal of that comment towards the Prime Minister. I find that unparliamentary.

Senator RONALDSON: Mr Acting Deputy President, I do not wish to debate this matter with you, but I will just say that it must have been said in this chamber a thousand times that the Prime Minister and this government were elected on the back of a lie. If you are now telling me that that is unparliamentary, that is fine. But I draw to your attention that it has been used, as it should have been, on many, many, many occasions during this debate.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I am still seeking your withdrawal on that matter, Senator Ronaldson. This has been debated in this chamber on many occasions and reflecting on one person's conduct or character has been considered unparliamen­tary in the past.

Senator RONALDSON: Mr Acting Deputy President, in due—

Senator Marshall: Withdraw. Do as you are told!

Senator RONALDSON: deference to your position, I will withdraw. But I do not need to be advised by a couple of parliamentary lightweights like the senator opposite—nor indeed the man who will be responsible single-handedly for bringing down the Australian Labor Party and driving this economy and this country into a state of economic decline that I do not think we have ever seen, and we will see it again.

I see the smug look from Senator Bob Brown, and I think to myself, 'Surely those opposite are not prepared to let this man power-share any longer.' Let's go back to the polls. Let the Australian people— (Time expired)