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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Page: 5541

Senator MASON (Queensland) (12:55): Since coming to office, the Australian Labor Party and their allies the Greens have failed our country in two important public policy challenges. We all know what they are: first it was the carbon tax and second, of course, it was border protection. They are the two conspicuous failures from the government and from the Greens. The root cause of Labor's failure is, of course, the same. What is that? It is the conspicuous moral vanity of the Australian Labor Party. In both cases, the Labor Party and the Greens have put forward policies that are not in our national interest just so they can show the world—and most importantly, perhaps, themselves—that they really are morally superior. They are the ones with a conscience. They are the ones who are enlightened. They are the ones who are ethical. They are the ones who are superior. The coalition on the other hand, they argue, is ignorant, unenlightened, mean and morally bankrupt. That is the left-wing narrative. That is the narrative of the Greens and the Australian Labor Party. That is the narrative of the Gillard government and the Rudd government since 2007.

So the Labor Party and the Greens mortgage our national interest with the introduction of a carbon tax. They mortgage the competitiveness of our economy, the jobs of our children and the balance of our trade and introduce a carbon tax. Why? So that they can feel good about themselves and show the world how enlightened they really are. No-one actually believes that the carbon tax is in our national interest. The Labor Party and their allies the Greens do it anyway.

Then the Labor Party and the Greens do it again. They do the same thing with border protection. They mortgage our national interest, the security of our borders, the integrity of our immigration program and, indeed, even the broad support for the humanitarian and refugee program. That is all mortgaged by reversing the Howard government's successful Pacific solution. Our national interest is all mortgaged because the Labor government just could not bear to admit that the Howard government was not morally bankrupt. They just could not bear to admit it. We were morally bankrupt, but of course the Labor Party were all sweetness, light and morality! They just could not bear it. Instead the Labor Party and the Greens are willing to sacrifice the integrity of our borders and our migration program and create a dangerous, unsustainable policy—this was the aim—so they can tell the world how compassionate and enlightened they are and so they can feel good about themselves. That is why they do it. It was all very cosy—terribly, terribly cosy way up there on their high moral ground and their moral high horse—because from up there you could not even see people drowning.

'Houston, we have a problem,' says the Prime Minister. Finally, reality intrudes. The horrors become apparent. Even the Australian Labor Party can see there is a problem out there, and what do they do? They outsource their conscience to Air Chief Marshal Houston. That is what they did, and it was pathetic. Politics should not be a giant psychodrama just so Labor politicians and Greens politicians can feel good about themselves. Our country's national interest should not be subject to that psychodrama. Right now the government is having to eat their moral vanity as humble pie, and I suspect it will be a little hard to swallow.