SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER AND MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS TONY BURKE: The Government has shown again their incapacity to receive a message from anyone. They didn’t get a message from the Victorian Election, they haven’t heard a message from the Australian people and they didn’t receive any message from the Senate last night when you see that on the Notice Paper today, they’re straight back in there with their higher education reform again.

There is no capacity from this Government, whether it’s GP Tax whether its higher education, whatever issue that is causing them to be in disarray at any given moment, there is no capacity for this Government to listen, to listen to anyone. It’s a Government that is sort of caught on that hamster wheel and they think ‘oh maybe if we run faster then we’ll get off it’. They’re in a situation now, where every day they’ll say ‘oh now we’ll reboot, now we’ll do something new,’ and the something new is always more of the same. This Government is in a situation now where they’ve said to the Australian people, no matter what message the people send them they will not listen. No matter what message the cross benchers and the Labor Party in the Senate send them, they will not listen. This is a Government in disarray that is refusing to listen to any message they receive.

JOURNALIST: What about the crossbench, they haven’t really been listening either, haven’t engaged with the Government on measures like this one fully? 

BURKE: Well I think they’ve understood exactly what the Government was trying to do and they’ve said ‘no’. That’s a reasonable form of engagement when the Government’s going through with a pathway that this sort of Budget brought down, completely reasonable. Now I think the Australian people are wanting a Parliament that will say ‘no’ to a budget that was filled broken promises that let them down badly.

JOURNALIST: Would Labor pledge to restore the funding that has been suggested to be taken out?

BURKE: Look on a whole range of issues at the moment people know that we don’t know by the time of the next election how much carnage to different institutions throughout Australia, this Government will have caused. We don’t know what the state of the economy will be, given that this Government has been trashing confidence, so it would be irresponsible for us to be making significant fiscal and economic decisions right now when the truth is, there is a period of time where this Government is still hell-bent on causing damage to the structure of our country and causing damage to our economy.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s been a successful year for the Government as Tony Abbott told the party room yesterday?

BURKE: Well we got in trouble yesterday for making too much noise when Tony Abbott described it as being a year of achievement and people just burst into spontaneous laughter, it’s hard not to. If he thinks chaos is achievement then you really should do more than just a reboot. You get a moment when a computer when it freezes and you press control-alt-delete and it doesn’t actually fix the problem; this is frozen to a point where they just really need to remove the power.


Tony Burke