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Thursday, 7 December 2017
Page: 10085

Senator ABETZ (Tasmania) (15:12): I congratulate Senator Cameron on emptying the galleries of the Senate! Not a single person remained to listen to the ugly vitriol that spews forth from Senator Cameron's mouth each and every day when he takes note of answers. Was there a display of an alternative policy put forward by Senator Cameron, a leading frontbencher of Mr Shorten? No. What does he do? He spends his time in this place defending the likes of Luke Collier and seeking to denigrate the government. But does he put an alternative policy on the table? Not at all. When the Australian Labor Party has the opportunity to ask questions about jobs, job creation, household budgets, the cost of energy and even health and education, what do they do? They go to the default position in the absence of a policy agenda: to simply play politics, to denigrate the Prime Minister and to denigrate the Leader of the Government in the Senate. It is a game of denigration rather than an opportunity to lift the nation and to say, 'Here is an alternative platform.' Why is there no alternative platform? Because the Australian Labor Party, day after day, play cheap, opportunistic politics rather than developing a blueprint that would be appropriate for an alternative government.

As we come to the end of 2017, the last day of school for those opposite, I've got to say to them, the scorecard is a big F for fail. They have not been able to produce an alternative blueprint. Indeed, in the spray that we heard from Senator Cameron, we were told that, somehow, those of us on this side rub shoulders with multimillionaires. Excuse me? What a home goal! How about the good Senator Dastyari? With whom has he been rubbing shoulders of late? Oh, not a millionaire or billionaire, per chance? Indeed, who else turned up at that home that Senator Dastyari visited? It was none other than the would-be alternative Prime Minister, Mr Shorten. He himself visited the mansion.

What is dripping from Senator Cameron's commentary, day after day, when he talks about these mansions and millionaires, is an ugly display of envy and jealousy. It is envy and jealousy that seeks to motivate the Australian Labor Party. It again shows that they are motivated by class warfare, motivated by division. Rather than celebrating that some people may or may not be doing well, they simply seek to denigrate. And this nonsense that, if you are in business, you are somehow a millionaire is just to misunderstand the Australian people and, especially, the small business sector, which has gained from the government's tax cuts.

Can I say to the Australian people, and to those opposite, remember when Labor were in government and Mr Shorten was actually the Assistant Treasurer, he day after day in the House of Representatives would assert, and assert correctly, that tax cuts for small business directly translated into—the Labor Party won't answer that question anymore, but in those days, when they were in government, they did answer that question, with the term 'job creation'. It would create jobs for those of our fellow Australians who have fallen through the cracks, who have been denied the opportunity of self-esteem and all the wonderful benefits that flow from being able to be independent of government because you are in gainful employment.

So Mr Shorten and the Australian Labor Party know, because it issued forth from their own mouths, that these tax cuts would deliver jobs and lift people from social welfare into self-reliance and the capacity to look after themselves—a worthy goal and something which we supported Labor on whilst they were in government. This should be bipartisan policy, but the cheap politics that has now infected Labor has also infected them to the extent that they now repudiate their own policies. (Time expired)