Morrison Government skilled in art of doing nothing

Published on Thu 12 November 2020 2:42pm

They’ve been here for seven years now and maybe eight years by the time it’s all done; three terms and government, and they will have to reflect on what they’ve done here, which has been a lot of noise and lots of announcements, lots of press releases, lots of media stunts. But it has amounted to two fifths of not very much.

Mr Wilson (3:38pm) – Thank you, Deputy Speaker. And can I just say it’s great to have the member for Chifley kick us off this afternoon and to have him back in a front bench role, it’s really important. He’s someone who can speak about serious things, and do it with an element of good humour. And I think that’s something we need in Australian life and certainly in Australian politics.

At the other end of the emotional spectrum, it’s sad to say it’s sad to say that, in time to come, members of the government probably get together and reflect on the fact that they made an art of doing very little with the trust that they were given by the Australian people. They’ve been here for seven years now and maybe eight years by the time it’s all done; three terms and government, and they will have to reflect on what they’ve done here, which has been a lot of noise and lots of announcements, lots of press releases, lots of media stunts. But it has amounted to two fifths of not very much.

And some might say, there’s a kind of an evil genius in that, there’s a sort of a narrow political frame in which you would say, if we can get away with that, if we can keep saying we’re doing things without actually making a difference in the lives of ordinary Australians, why wouldn’t we, but I just think we are here in this place to do more than that.

And the member for Page, I was interested, you know, I guess that’s always a challenge. If you say to somebody, you’re a three term, three prime minister government, seven or eight years here, what would you put on your list? You know, if you’re sitting around having dinner with your friends, or you’re walking in your community; what would you say, are the hallmarks of what you’ve achieved in your time? The member for page talked about big business tax cuts, big business tax cuts at a time of record profitability; big business tax cuts in the name of some sort of trickle-down philosophy where the claim is that will turn into jobs. Does it turn into jobs? The evidence is, no, that doesn’t happen.

We’re told, we’ll take away, we’ll take away penalty rates. That creates greater flexibility and that will turn into jobs. Has it turned into jobs? That’s not what’s happened.

They make a song and dance about trade agreements. Do you think if you went around Australia right now, and you stopped people in the street who are doing it tough, who are finding it hard to get work, who are concerned about their future, are worried about the fact that TAFE and training has been smashed, that degrees are about to double in costs; do  think if you said to them, do you know what, we’ve signed these seven trade agreements, do you think that would be much solace to the people who are actually experiencing the economic and social conditions that apply in Australia today?

The slogans and the press releases in the announcements don’t cover for a lack of delivery. And you really have to ask what is the point of spruiking a $2 billion bushfire recovery fund if you haven’t advanced any money out of that for people who have lost their homes and lost their livelihoods.

What’s the point of having a $4 billion emergency response fund if you don’t actually advance any money to support people who have been smashed by Australia’s first national scale, climate change emergency and the bushfire that we saw last year that burned through 12 million hectares and killed more than a billion Australian animals?

What’s the point of saying of trying to find clever ways of pretending that you’re acting on climate change? When the first five years of the government emissions rose in this country, and at best, at best, with some clever accounting tricks, at best, you’ve reduced emissions over seven or eight years by 1 per cent. The previous Labour government reduced emissions by 15 per cent in six years, and we put in place all of the things that have done any work on that front since that time and defended them despite the relentless attack from those opposite.  

What’s is the point of pretending that the NBN fiasco is actually some sort of achievement? What is the point of pretending that the multi-technology mess, the great re-coppering of Australia escapade has done anything other than deliver a broadband network that is obsolete on the point of delivery? What should be the key building block of productivity and broad economic participation; Australia’s future – absolutely wrecked by this government.

Deputy Speaker, in the end, it does not matter if you feel like you’re getting away with it. It doesn’t matter if you think in here you can smile and wink and say we think we won the day, we think our lines are cutting through.

What matters is what’s happening or not happening for the Australian community. And what we see is a falling share of Australia’s productive value for working people, a growing digital divide because of the hopeless NBN that’s going to make life more difficult for those in rural and regional Australia and those facing socio economic disadvantage; virtually no progress on homelessness; no meaningful progress when it comes to closing the gap; a failed environmental protection framework.

I mean, you’re the government, wouldn’t it be good to be able to reflect in the years to come and say, we did something, we moved the dial for the Australian people.

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