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Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Page: 8983

Mr PERRETT (4:14 PM) —I have a little bit of a reputation in this House for understanding literature, so I wanted to correct the record. The member for Wentworth was unfairly, I think, called the ‘Merchant of Venice’ but for those that know that work by Shakespeare he is not like Antonio or Bassanio or any of those characters. I think from his performance today we need to turn to Macbeth, the Scottish king who murdered the former king, Duncan. Today I am just going to read a little bit of Macbeth’s soliloquy where he said:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

The member for Wentworth is really full of unsound bytes and fear. In his 20-minute speech he went straight for the fear factor. He totally forgot that earlier in the day he had talked about bipartisanship and instead cultivated a bit of fear in the markets and then, obviously, the good old one, turned to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and talked about the fact that this is going to be a dangerous thing. He does not understand how to build a future. That is the fundamental flaw with the MPI from the member for Wentworth. I could comment on what the member for Curtin put to the parliament; however, it was almost as though she was reading from the ‘Slumber Street Journal’. It was quite amazing. I will not touch on the comments of member for Wide Bay; as a good old agrarian socialist I will support him and leave him right alone.

Rather than go to the words from the member for Wentworth what I thought I would do in talking about responsible economic principles is turn to the comments of real Australians, the people outside this House, and see what they have said. Let us look at that. The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association said:

“Pensioners and Carers across the country are overwhelmed by the bonuses announced today by the Federal Government” said Charmaine Crowe, Policy Coordinator at the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association.

“Pensioners and Carers will be in receipt of a wonderful Christmas present, which will go a long way to help pensioners make ends meet.”

Then there is the Australian Retailers Association, which is a $292 billion sector, as I am sure the members opposite would recognise, with 5,000 members and 1.2 million employees. Their Executive Director, Richard Evans, said, ‘Retailers welcome Rudd’s early Christmas present.’ These are the third-party endorsements that we have here. The Fair Go for Pensioners Coalition said that it was very welcome news to build confidence and security among pensioners and seniors in this two-part announcement by the Prime Minister. National Disability Services said:

National Disability Services welcomes the Australian Government’s announcement today of additional payments to recipients of Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment.

National Seniors Australia said:

Older Australians have warmly welcomed the federal government’s move to provide generous lump sum payments to pensioners and low income self funded retirees in time for Christmas.

…            …            …

National Seniors Australia chief executive, Michael O’Neill, said the government had clearly recognised the pressure older Australians are under.

These are the people we should be turning to in assessing the performance of the Rudd government. I think the members opposite should take the advice of my Mum, which is basically, ‘If you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything.’ They have been sitting there like flogged dogs all day since this announcement. What they should do is just sit there quietly or go back to their offices and take the calls from pensioners. They should take the calls from the seniors that are phoning their offices. To quote one pensioner, all they said was, ‘Woo hoo!’ They are over-the-moon happy with what the Rudd government is doing in managing the economy sensibly. This is responsible economic management. I just remind the people opposite that is what government does: you support the vulnerable, you invest in the future, you assist small business to grow and you put downward pressure on inflation while promoting growth. That is what responsible government does.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke)—Order! The discussion has concluded.

Mr Truss —Haven’t you got any more Shakespeare for us?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —The Leader of the Nationals was heard in silence and I think should show the same courtesy to others.