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Monday, 9 November 2015
Page: 7956


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:04): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answers given by ministers to questions without notice asked by Opposition senators today.

I think what we have seen today in question time is an example of a government that cannot change its stripes, a government that this country cannot trust and a government that has got no idea about what the real future of this country is. You can change your leader, but you certainly cannot change the extremism; you cannot change the attacks on working people; you cannot change the lack of knowledge that this government has on what is good for this country—that cannot be changed by simply changing the Prime Minister.

Look at what has been done here today. This is a government that said unequivocally to the people in South Australia that 12 submarines would be built in South Australia—no ifs, no buts, no whatevers. There was an unequivocal commitment, prior to the last election, that 12 submarines would be built. We have heard the new minister here today being unable or unwilling to meet that commitment that was given when this government was looking for votes in South Australia. They just cannot be trusted.

We have heard the response from Senator Fifield on the National Broadband Network. I have to tell you: I know what people in my area in the lower Blue Mountains and in the seat of Macquarie think about this 'multitechnology mix': it simply means more reliance on a system that is failing. About a 1.25 megabit download off the corroding copper in the Blue Mountains—that is not innovation; that is not resilience; that is not being agile; that is being stuck in the past. That is what this current Prime Minister has given us with this so-called multitechnology mix—an absolute mess: corroding copper cables that will not deliver a modern technology to houses in regions right around this country.

So, they have failed on their promises on jobs. They have failed on their promises on technology. They have failed on the NBN, and they have certainly failed with the commitments they gave about no changes to the GST, because everyone knows that is the next thing on the agenda—the GST. They say it is an efficient tax. It might be efficient, because it will efficiently gouge the poorest people in this country. It will gouge low income earners. It will gouge families battling to make a living. This is a bad tax. It will cost an extra $50,000 to build a house under the tax that this government is proposing.

If they stand up here this afternoon and say, 'Oh, no, we are just looking at it. There will be a white paper and we will look at it down the line,' they cannot be trusted. How can you trust a government that in its first budget attacked the low paid, attacked pensioners, attacked the health system, attacked the education system and attacked the most marginalised people in this country. These are the people who delivered cuts to the family tax benefit that hit the poorest one-fifth of people in this country by seven per cent—it increased their cost of living by seven per cent.

This is a government that cannot be trusted, a government that does not care about the poor in this country. They are not prepared to take on big business. They are not prepared to take on Chevron, who have paid only $248 in tax on a $1.7 billion profit. You don't hear them attacking Chevron. You don't hear them coming after the big businesses that are paying no tax. But they want to come after the pensioners. They want to come after poor families. They want to come after the battlers in this country. This is a bad government. It cannot be trusted. You can change the leader but you cannot change your values. (Time expired)