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Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Page: 9005

Senator ABETZ (Tasmania) (15:13): The Australian people rightly expect a lot better from their representatives in the national parliament than that which they just heard from Labor's Senator Watt. The Australian people are not interested in the petty politics of a state election result. What they want to know is that the federal parliament is determined to deal with the issues of job creation, for example. In the past year we have seen about 1,000 jobs per day being created in the Australian economy because the government is getting the settings right, which enables the private sector to gainfully employ our fellow Australians. They're the sorts of issues that the Australian people expect us in this parliament to be grappling with. But, of course, that is good news. That is getting a thousand people a day off welfare and into employment, making them self-reliant and capable of looking after not only themselves but their whole family unit. So what does the Australian Labor Party seek to do? Talk about anything else but job creation.

What about energy prices? They are a very real issue for job creation, for our manufacturers, for our pensioners and for household budgets. The Australian Labor Party don't want to ask questions about that. They don't want to take note in relation to those issues. Why? Because Labor have been abject failures in that area. That is why the Liberal-National Party government has come to grips with that issue and developed the National Energy Guarantee. These are the sorts of issues that the Australian people rightfully expect the federal parliament and its representatives to deal with.

I've been here for a while and I have seen the National Party in Queensland, right, wrong or indifferent, elect senators who have a mind of their own, be it Senator Ron Boswell or Senator Barnaby Joyce. Therefore, to falsely assert that independent thought amongst National Party senators from Queensland commenced from last Saturday is historically untrue. It is objectively untrue. It is not based on any fact other than somebody thinking they would be a smart alec and come into this chamber and gloat for five minutes over what they are expecting to be a Labor victory—a Labor victory in Queensland which will be based on One Nation preferences. Let's be quite clear on this. The Labor Party claim that they are cleaner and purer than the driven snow. But do you know how they crawl into government? They do it on the back of One Nation preferences and then seek to condemn us in relation to One Nation preferences. But I have been distracted by the nonsense put to us by Labor's Senator Watt from Queensland. They are not the issues that the Australian people actually want us to talk about—albeit the National Party from Queensland has a heritage of providing excellent senators who are independently minded and provide an extra dynamic to the coalition.

Unlike the Labor Party senators, we aren't all cookie-cutter trade union aficionados who think of the Senate as some sort of retirement place or a reward for having been a trade union official. This is about the serious business of government and developing public policy to ensure that the men and women of Australia are able to get jobs. A thousand of them a day are being created as we speak because we're getting the policy settings right. They're the sorts of things the Labor Party don't want to talk about, and I understand why: because of their dismal failure in their six years of government, which left a legacy of such high unemployment and so many bankrupt businesses. We on this side are focused on the real issues and are seeking to serve the Australian people to the very best of our ability to ensure that there is job creation, to ensure that there is the capacity to balance household budgets and to ensure that pensioners can use their air conditioners in summer.