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Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Page: 2097

Senator BIRMINGHAM (3:12 PM) —How remarkable, how astounding and, indeed, how pathetic! We have just heard a Labor Party senator from South Australia who told us that we could trust the Rann Labor government and then went on to talk about Tony Abbott and the federal Liberal Party and the Howard government and absolutely everything and anything that she could possibly think of except Mike Rann or the Rann Labor government in South Australia. Why? Because she had not one good thing that she could come up with to say about them, not one achievement from eight long years of government, not one achievement from his 15 long years of leading the Labor Party, not one achievement from his 30-plus years since he proudly first climbed the steps of the South Australian Parliament House with Don Dunstan, to revolutionise the state. Not one achievement in his 30-plus year career and Mike Rann wants to take it out another four years, or so he claims. But if you want to talk about leadership, Senator McEwen, let us have a look at whether Mr Rann and his wife are perhaps about to head off to Rome after this election. Former Senator Vanstone has got a six-month extension, so I understand—a nice convenient extension of her time. I wonder why that has been granted. I wonder for whom that seat is being kept warm—for Mr Rann, I am sure, who has long harboured ambitions to head over to Rome.

If Senator McEwen wants to talk about trust in South Australian Labor—and she has now left the chamber—she has got to ask the question as to why the voters of South Australia have delivered throughout this campaign, in poll after poll after poll, their verdict that they no longer trust Mike Rann or his spin-driven breed of Labor governments. That is because they have seen him and his government in action for eight years, and they look and smell just like this lot opposite—all talk, no action; all spin, no substance. These are the problems that Rann Labor has. They are the same problems that Rudd Labor is starting to acquire. The South Australian public and the Australian public are seeing through them.

Today, Senator Wong, the climate change minister—she is the former South Australian Labor Party president and is a senior South Australian minister in the Rudd government—was asked about preference deals that remarkably see the Labor Party empowering the climate change sceptics candidates. That is right, Mr Deputy President! For all the lecturing and hectoring that we get in this place from Senator Wong and Comrade Senator Carr about climate change, they decide that they will be the ones to empower the sceptics by preferencing them in the Legislative Council election in South Australia. That is right; they are preferencing the climate change sceptics—not ahead of just the Liberal Party but ahead of the Save the RAH Party. What is the Save the RAH Party? It is a group of doctors. Those doctors are obviously such radicals that the Labor Party could not bring themselves to preference a bunch of people with whom they might disagree over the building of a hospital ahead of people with whom they apparently claim to disagree on the greatest moral challenge of our time!

How can you stand there in all credibility, Senator Wong and Senator Carr—or anybody else on that side of the chamber—and talk about the greatest moral challenge of our time and criticise the fact that some on this side of the chamber might question the science from time, and then go and empower the sceptics by delivering them your preferences?

Senator Wong, at the conclusion of her answer, accused the Liberal Party of being willing to do or say anything. Well, this is a clear act of a Labor Party that is willing to do or say anything—to do any dirty deal on preferences—to win itself seats in parliament. They will deal with any candidate—they will give a leg-up to any candidate—who is out their standing on any platform that will filter votes through to them. They have done it with the climate change sceptics. They are doing it with the Fair Land Tax Party. They are doing it across the board. They are doing it with the independent commission against corruption candidates. In all these platforms you would not expect voters to want their preference to go to the Labor Party but the Labor Party has done dirty deals to ensure that those votes filter through to them so that they can profit. That is what you call doing or saying anything. That is what you call empowering the sceptics. This is a government and a party that is morally bankrupt. And that is what we are seeing from Premier Rann in this campaign.