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Thursday, 15 November 2018
Page: 8331


Senator BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (15:37): It hasn't been a boring week. You just haven't spoken enough, clearly, Senator Watt.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Just a moment, Senator Brockman. Could you resume your seat. Senator Di Natale?

Senator Di Natale: I'm seeking an answer as to why Senator Brockman got the call. This is the sixth speaker—is it?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: No.

Senator Di Natale: I've got my maths wrong, have I? Good. Oh, we started late. Thank you.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Yes, we started late. It's the fourth speaker. Please continue, Senator Brockman.

Senator BROCKMAN: We started very late, but we'll get there in the end. Reflecting on question time today, reflecting on question time this week and reflecting on question time this year, we've seen a lot of questions from those opposite which remind me greatly—perhaps I'm going to reveal my age a little bit here—of the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy sets up the football for Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown runs up to kick it, Lucy pulls it away and Charlie Brown falls flat on his backside. That's what the Labor Party have been doing all week: falling flat on their backsides with a series of questions, including today, where they run up, they think they're on a winner, they think they're going to kick that ball to the other end of the field, but they swing and miss and land on their backsides yet again. They want to bring up things that happened over a decade ago. They want to bring up L-plate leaders. What about the original L-plate leader, Mark Latham, who those opposite wanted to be Prime Minister?

Senator Watt: It's not our problem.

Senator BROCKMAN: Those opposite wanted Mark Latham to be Prime Minister. It's not your problem now, but it was your problem, Senator Watt.

What are this government and this Prime Minister doing? This Prime Minister and this government are getting on with the job. We're seeing the Australian economy grow at a great rate, 3.4 per cent, surpassing market expectations. It is a stronger rate than the world's seven largest advanced economies—the USA, Canada, France, Italy, the UK and Japan—and faster than the OECD average. What does that economic growth lead to? The most important thing it leads to is jobs, something that those opposite claim to care about—I have my suspicions. What did this government commit to achieving? It committed to achieving one million new jobs within five years, and we have more than achieved that—in fact, 1,144,500 jobs since 2013. Actually, I think that figure is slightly out of date. I think it's more than that now.

We see a government delivering on GST reform. The government has delivered something that many members opposite said could never be done. Western Australian Labor members of parliament said it couldn't be done, because it was too hard politically, but this government has delivered it.

For the first time, we've seen a significant reduction in the welfare rolls. This leads to a double benefit. It means more people are in work, so there is more tax revenue, but it also means that our expenditure is less. And we're giving those people a chance at a new future—not stuck in a welfare-dependent situation. Contrary to what those opposite try to draw out—the political, the 'inside the beltway' stories—this government is getting on with the job.

We are signing free trade agreements. Again, those opposite are walking away from a long-term bipartisan commitment to open and free trade. It is very sad that the Labor Party has fallen so far since the days of Hawke and Keating. I'm surprised to find myself saying that, because Hawke and Keating were certainly no favourites of mine. For the Labor Party to walk away from the benefits of trade and the jobs it creates is quite extraordinary.

Today we had an extraordinary attack on the Home Support Program. Labor didn't even have a list when they were in power. They criticised this government for actually finding out the scope of the issue that needs to be addressed. That is the great evil—when they were last in power, only a few short years ago, no such list existed. Again, our government is getting on with the job. The Morrison government committed $1.6 billion for extra home care packages, a rollout of 14,000 additional high-level packages, growing overall home care packages from 87,000 to 151,000 over the next four years. In so many ways this government is getting on with the job of delivering for Australians, unlike those opposite, who just want to play political games.