Jun 25, 2012

Motion to Suspend Standing Orders

Mr ALBANESE(Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (15:17): Who said this?

“The world view of this ugly conservatism is distinguished by complete absence of optimism, total lack of generosity of spirit and denial that politics all involves … give as well as take. … The triumph of fear over hope is palpable.”

 That was the Leader of the Opposition [Tony Abbott] in an article from 1998 about the One Nation Party.  In that article he opposed the politics of fear over the politics of hope, and he opposed the politics of fear over the politics of fact.

Since then we have seen an opposition leader desperate because of his loss.  We know that from his own words.  The same person who wants to claw back the payments to families, who wants to claw back education funding, who wants to claw back the assistance for pensioners, veterans, students and the elderly had this to say about losing power:

“We all need grief counselling.  It’s like a bereavement.  Not as bad as losing a child or a spouse but up there with losing a parent.  It’s very hard.”

That is what the Leader of the Opposition had to say about going into opposition.  No wonder we say that the quote from [Lyndon] Johnson about [Barry] Goldwater fits: ‘In your guts you know he’s nuts’.  No wonder we say this.

Here we see personified why we should not be suspending Standing Orders: this is all about their dummy spit.  This is all about those opposite and their failure to acknowledge the fact that they lost the 2010election.  That is why they have come in here and moved suspensions of Standing Orders on 61 separate occasions.

They say it is very effective but they run away from it just like they ran away from the Parliament.  This Leader of the Opposition is the only Member of Parliament to ever try running out of Parliament when a division was called.  Everyone else tries to get in; he tried to get out.  But he was beaten by the gazelle over here.

We should not suspend Standing Orders because we should not give in to the indulgence of those opposite.  It is not our fault that they do not sit on this side of the Chamber.  It is not our fault that every day they move a suspension of Standing Orders for the sole purpose that during the division they can sit on the government benches for just a few minutes.  That is the only possible explanation.

What we see from those opposite are not conservatives.  They are wreckers.  They are extremists.  They are reactionaries.

And as it gets closer to July 1 those opposite are getting desperate with their fear campaigns like Whyalla will disappear off the map, and all the others we heard again in this suspension motion.

The Leader of the Opposition said again today: ‘We will see the death of the coal industry’ – at a time when we know that there is half a trillion dollars of investment in the resources sector pipeline.

We should not suspend Standing Orders because I predict I might have got the next question.  If I did, I might have been asked about the Regional Infrastructure Fund and what people have to say about that.  This side of the House has supported the Minerals Resource Rent Tax because we support better superannuation and regional infrastructure.

This is what the Leader of the National Party [Warren Truss] had to say a year ago:

“I share the disappointment about how few mining companies contribute to the areas they invade and how little state governments return of the massive royalty incomes they receive to the communities.”

That is what he had to say.  I thought that might have been an aberration, it might have just been a mistake, because the Nats do make mistakes.  But just this month in the Mudgee Guardian he said that mining companies:

“…could not expect to take away a region’s resources without leaving something for the community.”

 That is what he had to say, and then he went on to say:

“…mines had a responsibility to contribute to the specific infrastructure provided to meet their needs.”

When they are out there in their communities they say, ‘We want regional infrastructure; we need regional infrastructure; we should do something about it’.  It is just like when they go around and say they have exactly same target that we do on Climate Change.  The difference is this: we are using the market to get there by introducing an emissions trading system with a fixed price.  Those opposite want to get there but not only are they climate sceptics; they are market sceptics as well.  They want to do it through the old Soviet command style economy of this Leader of the Opposition.

The fact is that they say ‘NO’ to everything in this Parliament, except ‘YES’ to Work Choices, ‘YES’ to clawing back tax cuts and pension rises, ‘YES’ to ripping the NBN out of the ground, ‘YES’ to taking billions away from public hospitals, and ‘YES’ to slashing the education budget.  But we know they want to avoid discussion.

We know that the Leader of the Opposition has gone missing over the last couple of weekends – he hasn’t been doing doorstops.

If we did not have a motion to suspend Standing Orders before us, we might ask why it is that they run away from the Parliament and from debate.  We know that there is a real concern from those opposite when it comes to accountability.  It is probably why they just suspend Standing Orders to avoid Question Time.

They do not like questions.  They will not answer any questions about their involvement in the James Ashby affair – not the Member for Sturt [Christopher Pyne]; he runs from that.

The Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Treasurer [Joe Hockey] all run away from accountability.  So we would certainly welcome a debate on a whole range of issues.  But not a debate on their self-indulgence – a debate that says, ‘I’m so great.  I’m so fantastic.  How dare the Australian people not vote for me as Prime Minister!’

That is essentially what we are putting up with here: the longest dummy-spit in Australian political history from this bloke opposite who just puts his ego before everything.  He goes to conferences and says things like this: ‘I’ll be the next Prime Minister of Australia.’  He says that when he goes to state [Liberal Party] conferences.

He runs down the Australian economy and runs down the performance of this Government, except when he is overseas.  There, he says:

“…Australia has serious bragging rights.  Compared to most developed countries, our economic circumstances are enviable.”

 That is exactly what the Shadow Treasurer said as well.

Once again, they abuse.  They get two goes and we get one.  But they insist on interrupting.  We think it is a fair deal: one of us versus two of them.

I conclude my comments on this, the great words of Robert Menzies:

“…on far too many questions we have found our role to be simply that of the man who says ‘No’. … There is no room in Australia for a party of reaction.  There is no useful place for a policy of negation.”