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Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Page: 6837


Senator BULLOCK (Western Australia) (16:26): The mission of the Australian Labor Party is to defend and advance economic opportunity for the working people of this country and for their families. This is the economic leadership that our nation needs.

Today, Australia is entering a new period of leadership under a new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and we are entitled to ask what this leadership holds for working people. There are some important indicators of the substance of this leadership—rather than merely the style—which are worthy of drawing to the attention of the Australian people. Firstly, we have the perspective of our Treasurer, Mr Hockey, which he offered just yesterday. Before commenting on the outrageous disloyalty of some, he said, and I quote,

Mr Turnbull made a number of claims about economic leadership that are completely unfounded. He has never said to me or to the cabinet that we are heading in the wrong economic direction.

So there it is from the Treasurer himself. Mr Turnbull has consistently endorsed the economic direction set out by Mr Hockey. He has endorsed the cuts to health. He has endorsed the cuts to education. He has endorsed the cuts to the ABC and SBS. He has endorsed all of the government's broken promises—the cuts to the dementia and severe behaviours supplement, the increased tax on petrol, the $100,000 university degrees and the attempts to further impoverish pensioners by cutting their indexation arrangements. All of the horrendous measures proposed by Mr Hockey in the government's 2014 budget, along with all of those measures which have been carried over into the 2015 budget, bear the Turnbull stamp of approval.

So that is Mr Turnbull's past and his present, but what of his future? What is the guiding philosophy which will set the tone of his impending leadership of the nation? Helpfully, Mr Turnbull set out his philosophy in his victory speech last night, when he said words that will, hopefully, haunt him throughout the remaining few months of his purloined prime ministership. He said:

It will be a thoroughly Liberal Government committed to freedom, the individual and the market.

This is the Turnbull philosophy: a world of individuals freely striving alone against market forces, a world of individuals needing to be agile and to be more and more competitive to survive the buffeting of market forces, and a Darwinian world of self-interest and self-service in which only the fittest survive.

Mr Turnbull understands self-interest. As former Liberal Premier of Victoria Mr Kennett said yesterday of Mr Turnbull's challenge: 'It's about self-interest. It's not about community.' There, in a nutshell, is the difference between the economic leadership offered by the elitist Mr Turnbull and that which will be provided by a Shorten Labor government. Labor does not see a dog-eat-dog world of individuals in which the fittest survive. Labor sees the individual as a member of a family, as a member of the community and as a member of society. Labor seeks opportunities for people, for families and for society. Labor's vision is a big, broad, generous vision: leadership to take us forward as a society, not to advance one at the expense of another; economic leadership for the nation, not just for the few, the privileged, the winners—the people who believe that $100 million entitles you to the prime ministership.

Labor supports free trade while protecting Australian jobs. Labor wants to open the doors of educational opportunity, providing affordable training for the jobs of the future. Labor stands for fair taxation, recognising capacity to pay, not regressive arrangements favouring the rich, like increasing the GST to fund tax cuts for the wealthy while failing to close loopholes offering tax avoidance opportunities to multinational corporations. Labor stands for a fair day's pay with appropriate penalty rates for work at unsociable hours and for the right of unions to negotiate collectively for their members. Labor stands for a healthcare system accessible through Medicare, not through your credit card. Labor is prepared to meet the challenges of protecting our environment, not shy away from it. Labor stands for a modern communication system, not one cobbled together with copper wires. Labor stands for the many, not for the few; for the family, for society, not for the individual and the unrestrained market. Labor provides economic leadership for the whole nation, not just for Point Piper. As has been observed elsewhere, when choosing a model for leadership, 'We're all in this together' trumps 'You're on your own'. In closing, I trust the Australian community will come to respond to Mr Turnbull in the same way that Mr Kennett did yesterday when he said, 'I will never, ever, ever vote for Malcolm Turnbull', and then added, to avoid doubt, 'Ever.'