Speech - Labor has no credibility when comes to running a country, economy
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (16:37): It grieves me but I am glad to actually participate in this ridiculous debate where, once again, the Labor Party trots out its tired lines—although I am quite excited about some of the adjectives those opposite have chosen to throw into today's motion. But I think it is actually merely disguising the fact that the Labor Party, straight after the federal election, completely reset the clock on how this nation is to be configured. Those opposite actually forgot about the previous six years, chose to say they did not count. Any responsibility borne for the mess we are now in, they will not be held accountable for. It is an absolute shell, a fig leaf, if you like, that is actually about hiding the facts behind what we are having to deal with as a government.
The fact is that we are delivering on our promises and those opposite do not like to hear it. We were elected to fulfil a most crucial of promises and that was to repair the sea of debris, the oceans of debt and the tsunami of deficits that were faced by this nation thanks to their absolute incompetence. It was incompetence on a scale never before seen in this nation. We had school halls built at triple the cost of anywhere else. Money was thrown out hand over fist. And now they choose to use the fig leaf of the 'financial crisis'. That was not the case. It was actually press release politics on the most ridiculous scale. I cannot believe it.
Let's go to the facts. The facts were that we did not have $50 billion in the bank. We had $200 billion of net debt when we took government 12 months ago and $667 billion of gross debt. The last six years that landed our government in the most precarious of positions. We have been battling against and are achieving against that position for the betterment—as Senator Mason mentioned in his contribution—of future generations.
We are not going to be bound by the political cycle. We are going to be bound by principles, which will underpin the future competitiveness of young Australians who cannot vote. Many of them are unemployed right now. Right through regional Australia there is high unemployment. We are seeking to build a positive future for them and to give them options in education, in training, in trades and, indeed, in higher education to ensure that they can access those opportunities so that they can contribute to increased productivity and enjoy all the positive outcomes that work will provide. The debt of the former government was the fastest accrual of debt in dollar terms as a share of GDP in modern Australia. It was not that it was the highest—although it was by a significant amount—but, man, was it quick. Like a catamaran versus a mirror, it was just absolutely phenomenal.
What this government is interested in doing is delivering on the very real promises we made at the last election to the Australian people that they voted for and that those opposite have continually frustrated in this place. Those opposite continually frustrate in their pious attempts to forget the past. Like deluded adolescents, they forget the past. It was the responsibility of those opposite and therefore those opposite have a responsibility in this place to lend a shoulder to the wheel to help us to repair the debt and deficit that those opposite left us so that we can as a society, as a parliament, build a positive future for young Australians. They were shallow slogans from Senator Cameron, but do we expect anything else?
We have also sorted out the growing regulatory burden, and it is not just on business. Higher education complained of the regulatory burden. The old friends of those opposite, the school sector, the AEU even—I think Angelo got on board—started complaining and bringing to the fore the regulatory burden that the former government placed not only business but on the environment, on higher education, on schools. Right throughout our society, the former government's stranglehold reduced our competitiveness, reduced our productivity and our ability to make productivity gains. Indeed, it stifled this nation to the point of static. Like a yacht with no wind, those opposite were no help.
We have delivered on the carbon tax promise. Help us. Why are you not thanking us? All those workers at SPC Ardmona and all the workers in the dairy industry were so thankful for getting rid of that carbon tax. The people who pay their wages are not having to pay tens of thousands of dollars in additional costs for a carbon tax that was never going to deliver the environmental outcomes that those opposite sought to achieve.
It is not just us. Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics said that our budget is the only road map to structural fiscal repair Australia has. Those opposite do not like to hear it. Those opposite do not have a credible alternative. Those opposite are very happy to carp on the sideline when someone else tries to fix up their mess. It is absolutely disgusting. It is immature and there is no leadership throughout the Australian Labor Party as those opposite sit here and carp on the sideline while we fix up their mess.