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Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Page: 1484

Senator BERNARDI (3:29 PM) —There is an embarrassment of riches with which we can dissect this fragile and, one would say, feckless government. I should start by taking to task Senator Carol Brown for maintaining there was coalition disinterest in and lack of support for the forestry commitment that the Labor Party made. Senator Brown probably does not spend a lot of time reading, but I am reading from a Labor press release here entitled ‘Labor matches Coalition forestry commitment’. That part of matching the coalition’s idea and policy has been lost on Senator Carol Brown as she has been defending Labor’s policy. It is the only policy she can defend, because Labor had to copy ours to get a decent policy. There is no doubt about this: this is a government that is absolutely feckless. It is, as Senator Faulkner, the wise old man of the Labor Party—he is not that old actually; I will take that back, but he is a wise, well-respected man—said: Labor are long on cunning and short on courage. Often I disagree with Senator Faulkner, but I think this sentiment is right.

But Senator Faulkner clearly has not learned the Labor version of courage. The South Australian state Treasurer, Kevin Foley, claimed in the parliament that the opposition did not have Labor’s courage to break their promises. How pathetic is that? You have a South Australian Treasurer boasting that he is courageous enough to break his promises. And, sure enough, clearly that model has been translated into the federal parliament, because this government claim they are keeping their promises and yet they are breaking them again and again. Do you remember the shrill claims by Senator Wong and Prime Minister Gillard about how they would implement every part of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority plan that was to be released? They have walked away from that commitment now even though they signed up to it blindly. They signed up to it not knowing what was in it and yet they made these election promises to the Australian people. Do you remember their promise not to have a carbon tax? Of course you do, because that was in every media statement for weeks on end during the election campaign: we will not be putting a price on carbon. What have they done? They have had to get the spine of the Greens to make them implement a carbon tax, which is now back on the agenda.

What about Senator Conroy today? He makes claims all the time about the broadband plan, when we know perfectly well what the costs of it are going to be. We know it is going to be $43 billion but we do not know what the actual benefits of it are going to be or whether it will be worth the price paid. Senator Conroy does not even know that. He talks all the time about how it has been rolled out in Willunga and the people of Willunga are very happy. I have to tell you, I was speaking to someone from Willunga at five minutes to two, before question time today, who said that they and all their friends have not heard anything about this broadband; it is certainly not connected to their place and they live right in the township of Willunga. So one has to ask: what reckoning is Senator Conroy on? This is another example of what this government is focused on; it is delusion on a grand scale.

It is a government that is like the walking dead. And who has said that but one of their own. He is one of the most entertaining senators in this place, I have to say, but it was humiliating for the Labor Party when Senator Cameron said that this government is full of zombies. It is full of deadheads, and we know it is full of desperadoes because they are desperate to cling to power at any price. We know that. If Labor were a beverage, they would not even be the liquid in the glass; they would be froth at the top. They are the froth—

Senator Back —They are the dregs on the bottom.

Senator BERNARDI —They could be the dregs on the bottom, indeed, but they are froth on the top of what is now a green beer. We know that this Green menace that is launching into us—

Honourable senators interjecting—

Senator BERNARDI —It is torture! This Green menace is now controlling the agenda of the Labor Party. This is an alliance that is so concerned about important issues for Australia, such as borrowing $100 million a day, the reckless and feckless rollout and the waste of government money, that the very first items that they have brought on their lacklustre legislative agenda are about euthanasia, about gay marriage—about things that the Australian people are not consumed with. They are desperate about how they can reduce the cost of living and how they can fight against the interest rate rises that have been foisted upon this country by the reckless and imprudent spending of the Labor Party. Yet what defence do we hear? We hear nothing from Labor or the Greens. It is just more froth and bubbles.