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Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Page: 934

Senator BERNARDI (4:12 PM) —It is going to be extraordinarily difficult to top that contribution from Senator Farrell. If ever we needed more evidence that the Labor Party exist in a Walter Mitty type world, I think Senator Farrell has simply given us some more. During question time, I was astounded to hear some comments from the ministers answering questions. First of all, we had Senator Carr. Senator Carr claimed that debate was somehow being stifled on the Liberal side of the chamber. How could he say this in the week in which his factional leftie comrade Senator Doug Cameron has come out and said that those on the Labor side of politics are like zombies and have all had lobotomies because they are not able to communicate and talk to their leader? Senator Cameron led this ill-considered and, may I say quite frankly, hopeless revolution in the party room of the Labor Party and was slapped down roundly, and we have not heard from him since. But, thankfully, there are wise people out there who are up to this. In the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, there was a letter from a lady named Anastasia Polites, who wrote:

Doug Cameron wants diversity of opinion within the Labor Party and the Left faction to be able to speak its mind publicly … Cameron must have forgotten how he ran the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union—with an iron fist. Not only were employees of the union forbidden to speak out, even internal dissent could be met with marching orders. Cameron wants freedom of speech only when he isn’t the boss.

What a damning indictment, yet Senator Carr has the audacity to suggest that debate is stifled on the Liberal side. This is humiliating for this government. Not only have they failed repeatedly to implement any competent policy agenda but, where they have implemented their policies, it has been a disaster. We know that.

The embarrassment of Senator Carr’s contradiction of his comrade’s claims was backed up once again by Senator Wong. We all know that Senator Wong has a history of failure in climate change debate. In answer to a question today about welcoming debate on economic issues—one of the greatest economic issues that this country faced being the emissions trading scheme, what we were told was one of the great moral challenges of our time by the man they knifed as Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd—Senator Wong would not listen to any debate. She said the science is settled and she went around alarming people and scaring the children so they could not sleep with outrageous claims about wanting to put a massive new tax on every Australian family.

Members of the Labor Party do not care. They do not care for the truth in their comments. We understand that. We know that Senator Wong, with her litany and track record of failure in her portfolios, was rewarded for her steadfast insistence that she wanted to put a new tax on Australian families and put the cost of living up for them all. We know that because she has now been given the portfolio in which she can have a big tax on every portfolio that she comes in contact with—the finance portfolio. She will have an increased controlling interest on the families of Australia. Just today, whilst Senator Farrell was defending the economic legacy of this government, we found out that rents are rising, we found out that electricity costs went up by 12 per cent or more in the last year and we found out that gas and utility prices and rates are going up by six per cent or more. These are the things that are hurting everyday families.

On that side of the chamber they might want to defend putting additional costs on families, but I do not, because Australian families are already struggling. They are struggling under the yoke of debt that this government has saddled us with, which is going to be an intergenerational debt. Despite the rhetoric from the other side, we know that debt will not be paid off in three years time. We know that debt will not be paid off for decades because Labor are incapable of doing it. They are fooling themselves, as they are trying to fool the taxpayers of Australia. They are fooling themselves, as they try to convince the taxpayers of Australia that Australia is on the right track. Australia is on the wrong track under this government. We are on a track of increasing public reliance on the government, where government wants to interfere in more and more individuals’ lives, where it is going to tax people more just to pay its bills, where it is going to implement more policies that fail the Australian people and fail the commonsense test. Labor know that and that is why they are subdued. That is why Senator Farrell could not mount a defence of the government in the face of such a flaying by Senator Brandis earlier on. It will be interesting now to see how Senator Pratt goes in that regard. (Time expired)