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Thursday, 1 August 2019
Page: 1853


Mr MORTON (TangneyAssistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet) (15:59): This government is on the side of hardworking, aspirational Australians who back a strong economy and a government that will deliver the essential services that they rely on.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr MORTON: I hear interjections from those on the other side. They invite me to speak from the despatch box, but, like this government, I'm humble—it's not about me; it's about the Australian people, and I'm quite comfortable addressing their concerns from here. This government took to the election a plan: to create 1.25 million jobs over the next five years; to maintain budget surpluses and pay down Labor's debt; to deliver tax relief for families and for small businesses; to guarantee increased investment in schools, hospitals and roads; and, importantly, to keep Australians safe and our borders secure.

But it's very interesting that the opposition leader and the member for Corio have proposed this MPI today. It's very interesting—particularly from the member for Corio, who has told The Australian newspaper that his party is going through a grieving process. And we are seeing that grieving process being played out today in this chamber.

Those opposite do not understand the result of the election that has been played out before them. They do not understand that the Australian people have backed this government because the Australian people know that this government is on their side. And no wonder there is such confusion on the other side of the chamber, because we see, on the other side, a party that opposed the government's tax package—something that we took to this election and which the Australian people endorsed and expected this place to deliver—but then supported it! They opposed aspects of the government's drought fund, and then they turned around and supported it. They opposed the government's foreign fighter legislation, and then they passed it.

The question really is: do the Labor Party know whose side they're on? The opposition leader has advised his members that they will have to get used to supporting the coalition's bills. Labor, incredibly, is not ruling out reversing the tax cuts that this government has legislated and has taken to the election and delivered upon. It's quite interesting how Troy Bramston in The Australian has noted that the Labor Party has had more positions on the coalition's tax package than there are in the Kama Sutra. Some members—

Honourable members interjecting

Mr MORTON: Troy Bramston has used an oldie but a goodie! And it demonstrates the fact that the Labor Party are not clear in relation to the policies that they are advocating in this House.

Yesterday, we saw Labor powerbroker Senator Kim Carr urging Labor to think twice before junking the platform they took to the election. It's a grieving process which is getting in the way of this government delivering on its commitment to deliver to the Australian people.

Let's look at some of these inconsistencies. I've done some research and I've looked back to the eighties. The eighties was an era when I was in single digits. But the Leader of the Opposition was very active in politics. He moved a motion urging the Hawke government to introduce a wealth tax and gift and death duties. That was the position he held in the eighties—and, perhaps, even today; it needs clarity from the Leader of the Opposition.

At Labor conferences in the eighties and nineties, he opposed the deregulation of financial markets, the privatisation of government assets, tariff cuts, wage restraint, fiscal consolidation and the export of uranium to France. He even voted with the Left faction to re-regulate the currency, years after the float in 1986. This guy is stuck in the eighties, and his politics show it. At Labor's 2015 national conference, he urged his Left faction colleagues to oppose Bill Shorten—that's the loyalty that this Leader of the Opposition showed—and he opposed his deputy leader, perhaps the next Leader of the Opposition, in relation to their support for asylum-seeker-boat turnbacks. And we're about to see the organisation of the Labor Party led by someone whose left-wing politics is even more extreme than the person who is currently leaving that position. The Labor Party do not represent the interests of Australians. (Time expired)