Bill's Speeches

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS - CANBERRA - THURSDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2018

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

I move - that so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving the following motion immediately.
 
That the House:

1. Notes that since moving on Malcolm Turnbull, the Government has:

a. Cancelled Parliament because it couldn’t decide who was Prime Minister;

b. Lost two Government Members, with at least one more on the way;

c. Been forced into minority Government, which the Government previously said would create uncertainty in our economy and instability for the country;

d. Created the first part-time Parliament in the history of Federation by scheduling just 10 sitting days in eight months;

e. Cancelled the Treasurer’s trip to the G20;

f. Voted for a National Integrity Commission even though it doesn’t support one;

g. Voted against tougher 15 year jail sentences for corporate criminals;

h. Abandoned the National Energy Guarantee – a policy which was designed by the Treasurer, which the Prime Minister promised would lead to lower electricity prices, and which the Member for Curtin still supports;

i. Been described by the Minister for Women as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers”; and

j. Been described by its own Prime Minister as “The Muppet Show”; and

 

2. Therefore calls on this ramshackle, reactionary Government to stop fighting itself and start focusing on the needs of the Australian people.

Australians are outraged, Mr Speaker, that this government is too scared to turn up to parliament, with the parliament just sitting after it rises in the next week, for 10 days in the next eight months.
 
The rest of Australia doesn't get to take months and months off work when it feels scared about coming to work. So why is the Prime Minister insisting on a part-time parliament? 
 
I believe that this part-time parliament confirms that we have a part-time Prime Minister running a part-time government and not at any time in the interests of the Australian people. 
 
The Prime Minister is fond of saying, "If you have a go, you'll get a go." But obviously it doesn't include "you need to go to work to have a go".
 
What a work-shy government. 
 
I've wondered what would happen to members of the CFMEU if they ran an industrial action campaign and proposed in the lunch shed one morning, "I have a great idea. Let's only go to work for 10 days in the next eight months." 
 
Now, they would probably be sacked and, indeed, this government would like to put them in jail. 
 
But it's one standard for the Morrison ministry and another standard for the workers of Australia.
 
Who on earth in Australia gets to say that, "I'm not happy with my job today or next week, so I won't come for the next eight months, except for a total of 10 days." 
 
The Australian people, in all seriousness, are our employers. They remain deeply unimpressed that they have a government of parliamentarians who seek the people to vote for them to be in parliament, but once they voted for them to be in parliament, those Liberal and National parliamentarians feel no obligation to actually report to parliament. 

The part-time parliament, however, points to a bigger issue - this is a government which has simply ceased to govern. 
 
Not only have they given up governing, they've given up pretending to govern. 
 
They have no agenda and no legislation. They're just swept along by the currents of hate and division in the river which is the Government Coalition ranks. 
 
An example of what demonstrates their lack of an agenda, or a lack of commitment to an agenda, is that on Monday they voted in favour of a National Integrity Commission. 
 
We thought this was a positive development because they had rejected our ideas for a year to have a National Integrity Commission. 

But then, as we explored the logic of this government by question time, the Prime Minister told us that an integrity commission and the issue of integrity in parliament is a "fringe issue". 

Then, furthermore, he couldn't explain if he actually supported one or not. 

But they did implausibly say that one of the problems with having a National Integrity Commission is it might mean that ABC journalists would be picked upon by that commission. 

You could see the fingernail marks in the marble from the blue carpet of the executive section of the parliament as they were dragged to vote for this National Integrity Commission.

But the reason why they voted for it is they were scared of the debate. 
 
We should have seen on Monday a forecast of things which were to come. 

They don't want to be in parliament, even though they collect the wages of people who are expected to go to parliament. 

But there is a second reason other than their lack of agenda, and their inability to do anything other than respond to events, why they don't seek to be in parliament.
 
There is another reason, the reason why this government doesn't like to turn up to work is because those in the government can't stand being in the same city as their other colleagues in government, much less be in the same room. 
Australians are confronted with a sorry sight of a part-time parliament, because this government has a full-time obsession with fighting amongst themselves. 

The parliament is part-time under this Prime Minister, but the civil war in the Liberal Party is a full-time occupation. 
 
The ramshackle, reactionary Coalition sitting opposite are so consumed by some form of existential identity crisis, some bizarre debate about what it means to be a "real Liberal".
 
They watch and re-watch the old footage of John Winston Howard and they roll him out in some sort of, you know, video to prove that they were once Liberal. 

They re-interpret the speeches of the 70-year-old Menzies era as some sort of Ouija board to help give them advice as they go forward in their current crisis. 
 
They talk to themselves, about themselves, in conservative echo chambers. 
 
They pontificate about this mythical right-wing base and they write off whole communities as irrelevant. 
Don't worry, they say: 

  • Batman isn't the real Australia. 
  • Perth is not the real Australia. 
  • Fremantle is not the real Australia. 
  • Mayo is not the real Australia. 
  • Braddon is not the real Australia. 
  • Longman is not the real Australia. 
  • Wentworth is not the real Australia. 
  • And Victoria is not the real Australia.

 
Rather than face up to their failures of policy, rather than change their out-of-touch attitudes, rather than take responsibility for the cuts and chaos, they prefer to engage in conspiracy theories. 
 
Yet again, we saw it on the front pages of The Australian newspaper.
 
The conservatives see the invisible hand of Malcolm Bligh Turnbull in every decision, like this Tiberius with a twitter handle.
 
You have to feel for Malcolm Turnbull - and I'm sure some of you do now.
 
He must be wondering how come he never had this kind of mythical, Keyer Söze influence when he was the Prime Minister of Australia.
 
And the economic shift is extraordinary too. After all, the Liberal Party used to believe in the invisible hand, they used to be the party of the invisible hand. Now they are scared of the invisible hand. They blame it for everything going wrong. 
 
The problem is, as humorous as it might be at one level, the nation is tired of this government.
 
I stood on the polling booths in Victoria -  and whilst all credit goes to Premier Andrews and there were many state issues - the truth of the matter is, when you see polling booths in Flinders down at Nepean state electorate, or Kooyong at Hawthorn, or in Higgins in Malvern and you see people who have only ever voted Liberal in their life and they say, "When is the federal election?". You know that this is a government who is not only scared of the parliament, they are scared of the Australian people.
 
And for good reason, they should be scared. Because Australians want more than the chaos of the government, the division of the government, the dysfunction of the government, and the internal hatreds of the government. 
 
Labor knows that the path which you have adopted, the Australian people will resoundingly reject policies which come from a government which is based on fear. The only argument that this desperate government has is they simply say that "we are not Labor". 
But what they fail to do, is they personalise this dispute. 
I thought even as remarkable as the part-time parliament, was when the Prime Minister said "It's all about me and him". 
 
No, Prime Minister. It's about the Australian people.

It is about the penalty rates that you won't restore.

It is about the school funding promises you broke and will not keep. 
 
It is about the growing out-of-pocket costs for healthcare, and for X-rays, and diagnostic images. 
 
It is about the fact that you won't give 3-year-olds universal preschool. 
 
It is about the fact that you have 120,000 people waiting for aged care. 
 
It is about the fact that you want to hand on to the next generation inadequate action on climate change. It is about the fact that you ignore rising power prices because of your obstinate denial of climate change. 
 
We will look forward to the next election, but what we say about it is to this government, in the meantime, do not be a part-time parliament. 
 
Show respect to the people and turn up to work and do your day job until the people get to evaluate your job at the next election.


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