Bill's Speeches







Thank you Madam Speaker.

Another Question Time and again, no answers.

Another day like every day under the Abbott Government.

New Liberal lies, new Liberal lows.

Every day we see the quality of the Parliament and the debasement of the Government of Australia continue downwards.

Now there will be six weeks away from this place, where we will all be able to have the opportunity to be amongst the Australian people.

But we know what the Liberals will be up to.

We know those opposite will continue their trademark politics of fear and smear.

We know the bar is never too low for those who sit opposite.

Just have a look at their form in Victoria.

Never in my wildest imagination, would I imagine that the Liberal Party of Australia or any of its divisions would stoop so low, crawl so low, to be raising money on the back of national security fear.

And quite frankly it was an unsatisfactory answer today from the Prime Minister when he says of course one would go down to ASIO for briefings, probably true. Of course that may be true.

But he could never explain: why does he need a TV camera in tow?

And then what he sought to do when the Opposition legitimately questioned him on these matters – he says it’s an attack on ASIO.

This man is addicted to wrapping the flag of patriotism around him and then saying no one has the right to ever question the judgements of this Government on that basis.

But we know that every dirty trick will be played by this Government, by this Prime Minister in the next 12 months.

They will keep going down the low road of character assassination.

They will stick with the same bullying, the same base politics of division and suspicion.

The last day of this sitting fortnight has been typical of every day under this government.

This Government and Mr Abbott will say anything to get your vote.

They will say anything, they will do anything – they will promise everything.

But his word means nothing.

Tony Abbott’s promises mean nothing.

Let me tell the Government and Mr Abbott about this:

If Tony Abbott wants to lecture us about lying.

If Tony Abbott wants to talk about keeping promises.

If Tony Abbott wants to make the next election about trust.

Have a go. Give it a try. Bring it on.

Today Mr Abbott postured in Question Time – in the style which only he thinks befits a Prime Minister of this country with his faux indignation and finger-wagging - about an interview I did with Neil Mitchell two years ago.

As I’ve said, more than a couple of times: I made a mistake, I regret it.

I did what Tony Abbott is incapable of doing.

I apologised.

Tony Abbott has never apologised for the lies he told the Australian people.

The fraud he perpetrated on millions of hard-working people who trusted him with their vote.

Never apologised for saying on the eve of the election – right down the barrel of the camera – capable of probably even tricking a lie detecting polygraph – he said to millions of Australians on the eve of an election:

“No cuts to health, no cuts to education.”

‘No cuts or changes to the pension”

“No cuts to the ABC or SBS”

Five broken promises in ten seconds.

One lie every two seconds.

And Tony Abbott’s lies have real consequences for all Australians.

His lies are hurting people, every day.

  • $30 billion cut from schools

  • $50 billion cut from hospitals

And for once and for all, will the Government finally acknowledge the authorship of their own Budget papers which demonstrates the change in their spending profiles and the cuts behind it?

This Prime Minister thinks that Australians are as silly as some of the people who back him in his parliamentary party. The truth is in black and white, green and blue.

He’s also hurt 300,000 pensioners in this last sitting week.

Modest incomes – he talks about some people getting $30 a fortnight being better off.

But what he neglects to do – he presses the delete button at that point – he never mentions 330,000 pensioners who are having their pensions cut.

He said before the election ‘No cut to pensions’ – 330,000 people are going to have their pensions cut and he says because it doesn’t happen until a certain date – that’s not really a broken promise.

This man has too many excuses and not enough truth in his election promises.

He’s frozen the superannuation of  8.4 million working Australians

He says that there’s no adverse consequences that they would administer of superannuation, but what he’s done is he froze superannuation for 3.5 million Australians, low paid Australians.

He’s taken away their tax support for the superannuation contributions they make. But it goes further than that.

The Prime Minister for Indigenous matters has cut $500 million cut from Aboriginal services .

The Prime Minister for women has cut $270 million from community services, including counselling for victims of family violence.

And now we know this is just the beginning.

This is a most miraculous Government.

They get their public servants, paid by tax payers, working for months to talk to other senior offices all around the country.

They prepare a Federation Green paper and then they say it is just a ‘sensible discussion’.

Prime Minister, there is nothing sensible about an option saying you will take every dollar out of public hospital funding.

Prime Minister, there is nothing sensible about cutting the 15 hour minimum per week guarantee to 4 year olds.

There is nothing sensible about means-testing public schools and the parents who go to public schools.

But he has form on this.

Because before the last election, he said there would be ‘no cuts to health’.

In fact, he continued to do it all around the streets of Brisbane – before the Griffith by-election where he said, of his GP tax on the sick and the vulnerable he said:

“nothing has been proposed and nothing is being considered.”

“nothing is being considered, nothing has been proposed, nothing is planned.”

Mr Abbott’s pattern is always the same.

Promising all things to all people before the election – and afterwards, ‘please don’t bother me, I am about to break my promises’.

I know what the next six weeks will be like with the Government members.

They will get out there and whip up fear and they will whip up smear.

They will make it such that Australians feel more worried about their future than they should be.

This is a government obsessed with the Opposition.

They don’t want to stand up for Australia and fight for a vision of the future.

The Prime Minister is never any happier than when he is attacking us.

But he never more unhappy than when he has to run the Government in the interest of the Australian people.

They are fixated on the past.

They are spending $80 million of taxpayer money, trying to denigrate the reputation of the union movement.

They are trying to turn baseless allegations into a headline.

And on that subject – let me say to the most appalling acting Minister for Employment that the Commonwealth has ever had the disservice to have serve in that position.

He has said more than once, in recent weeks, he said of my time in the AWU representing working people:

Oh, he was there for the good times in Beaconsfield.”

He has implied that Beaconsfield was a ‘good time’.

Well, Christopher Pyne, I was at Beaconsfield.

A man died - two men were trapped for 14 days not knowing whether they would be rescued.

For the first five days, their families did not know if they were alive and for the next nine days, ordinary men dug through hard rock to rescue them.

It was a remarkable effort by hundreds of people.

Their families went to hell and back.

And  Christopher Pyne is so out-of-touch, he calls it the ‘good times’.

How dare you Christopher Pyne.

You are not fit to tie the shoelaces of the people in that rescue.

So I say to the Prime Minister, to the Government.

We will never apologise for standing up and  giving service to working people.

Every day you talk about Labor…

Every day you talk about me…

Every day you look back to yesterday…

Is another day that confirms you have nothing to say about the future.

Nothing to say about Australians, their concerns, their priorities and indeed, the future of this country.

Labor is better than that.

It lasted a day.

We saw that Minister for Immigration getting back into the gutter with his interjections and mindless contributions.

Yesterday, we were his best friend because they needed Labor to do the right thing for the nation.

But these people have short memories like I predicted yesterday.

We are different.

We will support Budget measures that we think are in the best interest of the nation.

We will not be mindlessly negative as this Prime Minister made his trademark in Opposition.

We’re interested in the Australia of the future and setting up Australia for the future.

That means making sure there are jobs and skills for the workforce of the future and our young people of today.

We want great schools, and yes, we want great coding in our schools.

We want proper funding for our hospitals not these rubbishy federation green-papers which you propose with your madcap options.

We want universal Medicare. Australians are sick of you trying to wreck the Medicare system.

We want accessible and affordable universities – not $100,000 degrees.

We will fight youth unemployment and we will back TAFE all the way - training and apprenticeships

We believe in a fair pension and we believe in strong superannuation.

In the next 6 weeks, we will outline our positive agenda for the future.

You can play your cheap political games all you like.

You can take the low road.

You can do your very worst.

But we will see you off.

We will not only endure

We will prevail.