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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 3862

Senator CAMERON (3:09 PM) —I am absolutely gobsmacked that today, of all days, we have Senator Fifield rising, as he has, on the issue of job seekers after we have had a weekend of attacks by the press and, mainly, by the Leader of the Opposition and Senator Abetz on the Prime Minister and the Treasurer of this country. And what do we get in question time today from this rabble over here? Not a word; not a mention. I think Senator Abetz was still looking for the email. It is absolutely ridiculous that you come here on what is an important issue, but one on which you have not said a word for the last week. All you have wanted to do is attack the Treasurer and the Prime Minister of this country, but when you get an opportunity to question on these issues in parliament what do you do? You turn tail and run away from the issue. You run away from the issue because you know that you have been completely wrong in the allegations that you have made against the Prime Minister and against the Treasurer; a Prime Minister and Treasurer who lead the government, are concerned about the unemployed in this country, and are concerned about job seekers but who have a vision and a plan for this country, which you do not have. You have no vision and no plan—nothing for the future of this country.

All you want to engage in is smear, innuendo and witch-hunts. That is the form of the opposition in this parliament—baseless attacks on the PM and Treasurer, and opposition to every initiative that is taken to protect the unemployed and the workers of this country in the face of the greatest global financial crisis we have ever seen. But what would you expect from an opposition that is led by the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull—the bully from Bellevue Hill?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Refer to the people in the other place by their proper titles, Senator Cameron.

Senator CAMERON —The Leader of the Opposition has bullied—

Senator Forshaw —He’s the current leader!

Senator CAMERON —He might not be there much longer—that is correct. But the Leader of the Opposition has bullied a young staffer—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Cameron, if you read your standing orders carefully you will find that using the term ‘bullying’ is imputing improper motives. I ask you to withdraw that.

Senator CAMERON —I withdraw. We hear so much about probity, so much about tendering and so much about the proper way to do business. In 1997, the Leader of the Opposition did a deal with Larry Adler of FAI. And what was that deal? That deal was that the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, would be given $1.5 million to find a buyer for FAI. And what did the Leader of the Opposition do? No independent assessment of the value of FAI; what he told Goldman Sachs was that it would be worth $20 million. And yet, it was sold for $295 million. Look at the misery and the loss that was inflicted on investors in this country then. In June 2006, legal proceedings were taken for misleading investors and misleading the public. That is the calibre of the Leader of the Opposition that we have at the moment in this country. There is no attempt to deal with the real issues facing Australians, no attempt to deal with the global financial crisis and no attempt to stand up for Australians; just more smear and innuendo. (Time expired)