TONY BURKE - SPEECH - SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - WEDNESDAY, 16 MARCH 2016

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS

 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

WEDNESDAY, 16 MARCH 2016

That was some of the longest 10 minutes the Parliament’s ever been through.

Oh, the backbench is still there! I’ve not heard them for so long!

That speech cleared the public gallery and tranquillised the backbench. 

Who would have thought we would get to the point in Question Time, when the toughest question you could ask a Prime Minister is: 'What is your Government's tax policy?'

Who would have thought that would have been the tough one?

He would say: 'Why didn't they think of that in PMO? Why didn't they come up with an answer?'

What is the Government's tax policy?

We get to a situation where we have a resolution dealing with it, and what does he talk about? How do you change the voting rules for the Senate.

We have a government that has failed every test it’s set for itself.

They said they would deal with the excesses of negative gearing. Dead.

They said they would never increase super tax. That’s dead.

They said they would never increase tobacco excise. That’s now dead.

They said they would increase the GST. That has been shelved for now.

They said they would cut personal income taxes. That’s now dead.

We now have a situation where every day they get closer and closer to the 2014 Budget, brought down by the people they claim to be an alternative to.

Be warned. Any time you hear someone from over that side say they are passionate about an issue, the issue is doomed.

The issue is doomed.

The Prime Minister was passionate about the republic - doomed.

He was passionate about marriage equality - doomed.

This guy over here was passionate about dealing with bracket creep - doomed; gone.

The Prime Minister was passionate about climate change - doomed.

As long as they say they believe in something, be guaranteed they will fly the kite and then they’ll cut the little cord the kite’s flying on and watch it blow away.

Every chance they get, where people think: 'Maybe they're going to stand for something,' this Prime Minister comes in and shows the only leadership he is capable of, is to stand for nothing.

Even on the most simple issues. In the Senate during this same Question Time, the Finance Minister was asked: 'When will the Budget be?' He stood up and agreed it would on 10 May.

This Prime Minister, first question asked: “What will the date for the Budget be?” He said: 'March 16.' That’s today!

Yesterday, the Leader of the House was off briefing the crossbench saying it was going to be on 3 May.

So we have three dates for the nation's budget.

I have to say, the concept of it being today is just as plausible as anything else the Prime Minister has been offering in this parliament.

What we have, is somebody who created so much hope among a lot of people that the nation's debate, at least, whether you agreed with him or disagreed with him, would improve when he became Prime Minister.

Since then, you can find debate, but it’s him disagreeing with himself on a daily basis.

He gets up in Question Time and he asks himself questions.

He does an interview and he argues with what he said the day before.

I’ve got to say, you’re doing really well in the debate! It’s riveting television!

The problem is it’s not taking the nation anywhere.

Tax policy matters.

But all the tax policy in all the tax debates is being led by this side of the House; the entire policy agenda for the nation.

Where the agenda is being led from is shown by the simple fact if you ask a question about tax policy, the only policies those opposite have to talk about are Labor's policies.

They’re the only ones they’ve got. That’s all they can talk about.

Then they tried to pit their big attack on negative gearing they had in the drawer.

Every time the Prime Minister says: 'Housing prices will go down,' we have the voice of the Assistant Treasurer piping up in the background telling us that housing prices will go up.

Telling us they’ll go up! They’ll go down! The only constant theme is we’re meant to be terribly afraid of both.

If fear is all you’ve got going for you, why’d you bother replacing him [Mr Abbott]? He was much better at it.

In politics at some point, you’d think they’d want to stand for something.

You would think they would have a reason for being.

You would think there would be a principle.

At least today we had from the Prime Minister the concept of there being a human right—he referred to a fundamental right—when he said: “Labor's policy will restrict the freedom of Australians to invest and to negative gear.”

It’s the first time I’ve ever heard a declaration of the freedom to negatively gear!

As though that’s the new principle they’ve got. A fundamental principle of human rights!

The Government will give more help to the person buying their second, third or 10th home (time expired).