Aug 21, 2018

Motions Prime Minister – Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (15:10): There were two words missing from the speeches of those opposing this motion of no confidence in this Prime Minister. What were those two words? ‘Prime’ and ‘minister’. Not one of the speakers has defended Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership. The speeches today are typical of what has characterised this government or, should I say, this opposition-in-exile, because what they have done is turned the coalition into the ‘no-alition’. They seek to define themselves by what they’re against, not by what they’re for. And that is why they have nothing less than a crisis of identity, a crisis of belief between the views of the current Prime Minister and the views of the past and future prime ministers. That is why they have such a problem, because you can’t define yourselves by just what you’re against. We know that, when they stand up and talk about the reason why they should stay on the Treasury bench, they speak about a tax on trade unions, a tax on public education, a tax on public health and a tax on the public broadcaster. They speak about a tax against the Leader of the Opposition and all of our team. They don’t present a vision for how they will actually take the country forward.

It’s there in their policies and we should have seen it. The current Prime Minister took over as communications minister and he actually does get the interweb thingy. As his predecessor said, he invented it! But what’s he done? Twenty-one million metres of copper wire—in the 21st century. That is what he has done. It’s so last century! When it comes to climate change—he gets that too—he put forward the emissions intensity scheme, but can’t follow it through. Then he gets the Chief Scientist to come up with a policy, so the Chief Scientist comes up with one: the Clean Energy Target. We said, ‘We’ll have a look at that. That looks okay.’ Then it disappeared. Then we had various versions of the National Energy Guarantee, and he walked away from that as well. He says he supports infrastructure and public transport. He loves taking selfies on trains and trams. We don’t want selfies; people want trains and trams funded with dollars—the Melbourne Metro and the Cross River Rail. No, that’s not good enough. He’ll go to Melbourne, he’ll go to Brisbane and he’ll go to the opening of Redcliffe rail; he just won’t fund rail lines in inner Brisbane.

The fact is that this motion should be carried because we know that a majority supports this motion: 69 on this side and 35 on that side. That’s before we get to the Nats; that’s before we get to Barnaby’s mob. They’re not part of that. See, you’re up to 104. You’re in triple figures—

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will refer to people by their correct titles.

Mr ALBANESE: before you get to the crossbenchers or before you get to the National Party. The fact is that, under this Leader of the Opposition, we have been working to have a plan for government. We have put forward economic policy. We’ve put forward really difficult tax changes under this shadow Treasurer. We’ve put forward policies to give fairness in the workplace. We’ve put forward environmental policies. We understand that Australians want nothing more and nothing less than for their kids to have more opportunity in life than they had, and they want them to inherit an environment that’s better than the one that we enjoy. But, instead of that true aspiration—which isn’t for another yacht; the aspiration of Australians is for their family, for their community and for their country—we’ve got the selfish attitude of those opposite. Then the Treasurer, at the moment, had the gumption to speak about the ‘big stick’. I and the next speaker get to talk every Friday morning, early, and last week I said that the problem was that they were using the big stick on themselves! Well, I was wrong—because now they’re using it on each other! And we saw it this morning.