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Monday, 29 February 2016
Page: 1280

Economy


Senator POLLEY (Tasmania) (14:00): My question is to Senator Brandis, the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Is former Prime Minister Abbott right to say that Mr Turnbull has failed to produce his own credible economic narrative?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:00): Senator Polley, I must say I have been a little busy lately and I have not actually had the time to read Mr Abbott's contribution. But I am sure—

Opposition senators interjecting

Senator BRANDIS: Well, I have not read it. But I am sure, Senator Polley, that the main point that Mr Abbott would be making in his contribution is that the broader economic narrative of coalition governments is always to create a more prosperous nation through lower taxes, more jobs and more incentives. That has been the overarching narrative of both the Abbott and Turnbull governments. It will continue as long as there is a coalition government, and it will always come to an abrupt and catastrophic end whenever there is a Labor one.



Senator POLLEY (Tasmania) (14:01): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Given that Mr Abbott has produced 4,000 words on his economic vision for Australia and Mr Turnbull has to date produced none, when will Mr Turnbull advise his own backbench of his economic plan?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:01): Senator Polley, I think what you are asking is: when is Mr Turnbull going to write a 4,000-word essay? I think Mr Turnbull is busy with other things. But, Senator Polley, might I point out that I and most of those who sit behind me on the front bench were members of the Abbott government, as was Mr Turnbull, and we were proud to be so. We were very, very proud to be so, because that was the government that began the task of budget repair, that was the government that got our borders under control, that was the government that began the process of restoring defence spending from the catastrophic levels to which it had fallen under the government of which you were a part, Senator Polley; and that was the government that began to put pride back into the people of Australia after the years of chaos and mediocrity—six years of chaos and mediocrity—that they suffered during the period of the Labor government.

So, Senator Polley, we were very proud of the Abbott government, just as we are very proud of the Turnbull government, because coalition governments, unlike Labor governments— (Time expired)


Senator POLLEY (Tasmania) (14:02): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. I refer to Mr Abbott's statement:

… one of the strongest endorsements of the Abbott government's economic policy has been Malcolm Turnbull's pledge to maintain it …

If the government's economic policy remains the same, what was the rationale for the change in their leadership?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:03): Senator Polley, as you know, I am not a political commentator, so I am not going to give you a commentary on political events of some six months ago. But I will directly address the first part of your question, because, like the Abbott government was, the Turnbull government is committed to the great task of getting our budget back under control. It is committed to the great task of lower, simpler and fairer taxes. It is committed to the great objective of getting our borders under control. It is committed to the great objective of proper public administration. It is committed to the great objective of putting more Australians back into work and creating hundreds of thousands more jobs than there were during the period that your political party was in power. It is committed to all of those values and objectives that all coalition governments, whether during the period of Mr Abbott's prime ministership or, now, Mr Turnbull's prime ministership, are always committed to.