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Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Page: 4930

Abbott Government


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:12): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Abetz. I refer to the Prime Minister's promise six months ago that 'good government starts today'. With rising unemployment, higher debt, a dumped Speaker and growing speculation about the Prime Minister's future, how is good government going?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:12): Good government is delivering lower cost of living to the Australian people by the removal of the carbon tax—a tax that would be reinstituted under Labor, not in its former form but in a higher form which would absolutely bankrupt the household budgets around this country and destroy thousands of jobs. Good government is delivering free trade agreements with China, with Korea and with Japan—things that Labor tried and failed to achieve, agreements that people like the former ACTU president Mr Crean acknowledge will create thousands of jobs and help create greater wealth for the Australian nation. Good government is also providing national security by ensuring that boats have been turned back, to ensure that we save literally thousands of millions of dollars—and it is now pleasing that Labor are, slowly, at least paying lip-service to this. Having given us self-righteous lectures about turning back the boats, they now say, 'What a great idea.' Have we heard an apology from those opposite for all the hectoring that we received during that time? No, of course not.

So there is good government, be it on the environmental front today with our very exciting announcement about the target we will be taking to Paris—we are looking in the Environment portfolio and foreign affairs—or be it in employment, where we now have the highest number of Australians ever in gainful employment. No matter what area of government endeavour is being looked at, we are doing a lot, lot better than we did when we came into office.


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:14): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Is the Liberal minister who spoke to Peter Hartcher correct in saying this government's paralysis 'boils down to Tony and Joe having no capacity to project a vision or an economic narrative', or was the minister more correct when they said the problem is: 'Tony's just a wrecker'?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:15): Once again, a policy devoid opposition has to go through the gossip columns of the newspapers to try to scratch together a question about an unnamed source. If we want to go to that sort of gossip column, I would invite the Leader of the Opposition in this place to read The Latham Diaries. This is not somebody shying away from putting their name to what occurred; this is the former Labor leader championed by the Leader of the Opposition in this place, one Mr Latham, telling us exactly what happened with Mr Shorten—that Mr Shorten would say one thing and do another. If the Australian people do not want to believe Mr Latham, a former Labor leader, try Mr Rudd, another former Labor leader, or try Ms Gillard, another former Labor leader. There is Labor leader after Labor leader willing to confirm— (Time expired)


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:16): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. With coalition MPs saying, 'Nothing's changed and nothing's improved,' and, 'There isn't anyone who thinks this is good government,' why should the Australian people have faith in this Prime Minister, when it is clear his own colleagues have none?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:17): Once again, an unnamed source—trawling through the gossip columns. But I can tell the Australian people why they can have confidence in our Prime Minister and his government: he is getting on with the job of running the country. Whilst the Labor Party at its national conference passes motions to condemn Martin Ferguson, we are getting on with the job of getting the budget back into shape. Whilst the Labor Party at its national conference passes motions about the republic as though somehow that is going to save the nation, we are getting on with the job of national security. The Australian people have a choice at the coming election, whenever that might be, between Mr Shorten, a man that three Labor leaders are now willing to say and vouch cannot be trusted, and a Prime Minister who is delivering time and time again. (Time expired)