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Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Page: 4683

Senator BILYK (Tasmania) (15:18): As has been said today, and I think quite eloquently by my colleague Senator Moore, and earlier by Senator Carr, the government engaged Mr Trevor Matthews to conduct an independent review of the indexation method used to adjust Commonwealth civilian and military superannuation pensions. The government accepted Mr Matthews's recommendation that Commonwealth civilian and military superannuation pensions should continue to be indexed by the CPI. This is important, because if we had chosen not to accept Mr Matthews's recommendation those on the other side would be coming in and harping on as they do. So it does not matter what we on this side do; the other side always find the negative and like to take it up.

As Senator Moore alluded to, and I agree with her, this debate does need to continue. But I find it bizarre that the opposition come in and slur a minister and allege to know what he knows or does not know. I do not know how they know what he does know or does not know in relation to definitions and acronyms. But it is not the first time this week that the opposition have come in and slurred people. In fact, I myself was slurred by none other than Senator Bernardi the other day. I am pretty tough, and I am quite happy to take it up, but this is just another example of how they come in and tell so many untruths and so many fictions. Senator Bernardi commented that I had never worked in private enterprise or been self-employed. I have, Mr Deputy President, as I am sure you are aware. You are Tasmanian, so I am sure you are aware of that. I have done both of those things, so I am really pleased to be able to get that on the record.

It is pretty important that those on the other side come in and tell truths, but they do not. They continue to tell untruths. They continue to run their scare campaigns. They continue to carry on. If I listened to those on the other side, I might as well not wake up on 1 July because the world will come to an end. Mr Abbott himself has commented in regard to that. I think the direct quote from Mr Abbott was that the 'spectre' will destroy and kill entire industries and 'wipe towns off the map'. This is just another way those on the other side carry on all the time and tell untruths. Honestly, people are getting really sick of it. I was also interested today in some of the other comments that were made in regard to people on this side. What some of the newer senators on that side have not worked out is that I used to work in the childcare industry. In fact, it is the place where I was self-employed for quite some years. When I worked in the childcare industry, I could control 30 three-year-olds. But trying to control those on the other side—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Bilyk. I just want to draw to your attention back to the motion before the chair. I have given you a fair amount of free range and latitude. I just draw your attention to the motion before the chair.

Senator BILYK: No, Mr Deputy President, I am sorry, but I have to say that I am just trying to point out to those on the other side interjecting constantly throughout my speech—they have not stopped since I stood up—that I can just keep talking over them and I am happy to do that. They can waste their breath but, having worked with three-year-olds previously, I am quite used to being able to do that.

What else can we say about the motion to take note today? As I said, the government engaged Mr Trevor Matthews. This is something the other side do not seem to want to acknowledge. Mr Matthews, who is a prominent actuary—he does not do his funding processes in cafes or restaurants—conducted this independent review of the indexation method used, and we accepted those recommendations. That is what we have gone on. Those on the other side, as I said earlier, just do not like that fact. If we had not accepted any of those recommendations they would have had a little grizzle about that. They are grizzling about this. They grizzle that the sky is falling in. They grizzle that Whyalla is going to be wiped off the map. I do not personally think that is going to happen, and I do not think the sky is going to fall in. They come in here and grizzle all the time. They do have a bit of a problem—yes, I accept that—with the fact that I have worked for a trade union representing workers. (Time expired)