Politics,Climate Change and Sundry issues

Politics,Climate Change and Sundry issues
for website listing my blogs : http://winstonclosepolitics.com

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Budget razor gang shelved plan to cut pension payments to wealthy seniors

Budget razor gang shelved plan to cut pension payments to wealthy seniors

Budget razor gang shelved plan to cut pension payments to wealthy seniors

Government instead chose to slash indexation of payments for all
pensioners, according to report, a move which Labor says will make
pensioners $80 a week worse off

The Abbott government’s budget razor gang shelved a secret plan to
kick millionaires off the aged pension in favour of slashing the
indexation of payments for every pensioner in Australia, according to a report.

The razor gang was asked to consider slashing pension payments to
wealthy seniors last year by changing the taper rate, the preferred
option of the former minister for social services, Kevin Andrews,
the Sunday Telegraph reported. This move would have reversed Howard-era
changes that brought more high income seniors into the pension system.

Senior ministers had said they agonised over whether Tony Abbott would be accused of kicking seniors off the pension and breaking an election promise not to cut pensions, the report claims.

Instead, treasury proposed a change to the indexation arrangements
for all pensioners, meaning the rate of increase would effectively be
slowed, from 2017.

The change was announced in the May budget, with welfare groups and
Labor arguing it would cut pensions by $80 a week within 10 years.

The treasurer, Joe Hockey, reportedly preferred treasury’s proposal
because it would create larger structural savings and would not
outwardly breach the government’s promise not to cut pensions. 

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, said that Abbott had “lied to pensioners before the election”.

“Now every single pensioner has to pay the price for that lie.”

“It’s ridiculous that while the pension is being cut, some
multinational corporations are paying little to no tax, and
multimillionaires are receiving new tax breaks from the government.’’

Friday, 20 February 2015

Scott Morrison: a kinder, gentler approach to welfare?

Scott Morrison: a kinder, gentler approach to welfare?

255 1

The new social services minister, Scott Morrison, has
been warned that parents are scouring Centrelink’s brochures to get
their school-leaving kids onto welfare. John Maycock investigates then why the minister is spending money researching the efficiency of these brochures.

AN article published in the Brisbane Times on 14 February 2015 headlined as 'New Social Services Minister Scott Morrison shows his colours', informed us that:

 ‘Scott Morrison says he is a fixer, not an ideologist, as he flags a kinder, gentler approach to welfare and families policy.

and that he

 ‘declared he is not ‘wedded ideologically’ to the government's
controversial dole and pension budget measures and says he does not want
to be ‘combative’ in his new portfolio, a move that flags a more
pragmatic approach to families and welfare policy for the Coalition.'

The article further suggests that:

 ‘…Mr Morrison [has] stepped back from the tough ‘lifters not leaners’ rhetoric of the Coalition's 2014 budget…

with Morrison declaring:

 ‘I have no need or interest or desire to take this policy area into a combative space.' (emphasis author's).

Now the article could be unpacked to reveal its ideological content, however, I would rather draw your attention to an article published by the Daily Telegraph on 29 January 2015 and the Courier Mail print edition on 30 January 2015 headlined respectively as: 

‘Bludger’s handbook from schoolgate to welfare office’


‘Bludgers shop for welfare not jobs’

Though the following statement is not attributed to anyone, the article initially makes the point that:

‘Parents are using Centrelink brochures as catalogues to find an
income for their children who leave school and want to walk straight
into a welfare centre

My first reaction to this was:

Aren’t those brochures there to inform people of their
entitlements? Weren’t the brochures introduced to streamline services at
the front counter? And, aren’t Centrelink customers encouraged to use
those brochures?

Further, according to the article:

‘Senior government bureaucrats have briefed new social services
minister Scott Morrison on the growing practice of parents taking their
children to Centrelink to find a way of earning a living off welfare

This, too, is not attributed to anyone.

It appears that Morrison is again quoted, stating his desire to introduce a ‘welfare cop’ to apparently

…police potential rorters of welfare and ensure taxpayer money is not being spent on bludgers.

and expressing his concern that:

‘…children [are] going from the school gate to the welfare gate.

Even here though, it is hard to discern what Morrison said and what the article’s author said, but no matter, that is how the MSM operates it seems.

Morrison is then quoted from a 2GB radio session where he said:

One of the things that concerned me most was when I was told
that at the end of school what happens each year is too often we see
parents come in to Centrelink with the Centrelink brochure as if it’s
some sort of catalogue.

and suggested that

The first place people go, for some, is to see what welfare they can get onto.’

When Morrison reminds us that:

 ‘Every benefit we pay and every dollar we pay out has got to be paid by the taxpayer.'

it becomes obvious this narrative is another stereotyping
vilification of people on welfare, driving division in the community via
the “combative space” of public opinion.

However my second, and more important, reaction to this was to ask: 

What information did those bureaucrats have for Morrison? What kind
of research/survey were they working from? And, has Morrison “twisted”
information to suit his own agenda?

The briefing had to be sourced from somewhere, but what type of
research would reveal what Morrison claims is going on? I came to the
conclusion that it would have to have been a survey of the efficiency of
the brochures themselves — do customers make use of the brochures?

I don’t know the answer to this but a hint can be found in a Courier Mail report from the 8 February 2015, ‘Madness’: Federal government spends almost $5 million dollars just on market research’.

This article reveals that one of the research projects was to discover:

…whether welfare recipients are getting good customer service at Centrelink shopfronts.'

 and that

…$560,000 was spent to determine whether Department of Human
Services clients, including welfare recipients, are satisfied with the
customer service they receive.'

This sounds very much like the efficiency of the brochures was canvased, especially considering that in the article:

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann
defended the investment in market research, but said all departmental
expenditure would be monitored and further cuts imposed where

and said that:

 ‘the Coalition had already eliminated wasteful and necessary (this seems like a mistake here – unnecessary?) spending on advertising and public affairs including a $43 million reduction across agencies.’

If this research is where Morrison’s briefing came from and his
agenda is to cut spending, then it stands to reason that he may want to
get rid of the brochures (they probably are a huge cost and almost
unnecessary with all the same information available online).

However, it would appear Morrison did not get the results he was
looking for – that the brochures are a waste of money – but rather, the
brochures are a great help and that people are better informed when they
reach the front counter (I am surmising here).

But (if what I suggest is so) here’s the rub. When Morrison didn’t
get the results he wanted, allowing him to declare the brochures a waste
of money in order to dump them, he chose to turn the findings into a
negative, vilifying those who use the brochures and tying them directly
to the welfare bludger
meme, which, in a public domain afflicted with generalising, affects
everybody on welfare. Morrison has to know this is the case and he has
to have known that he was entering “combative space” .

The question becomes

Can Morrison have changed his ideology in two weeks, or is he taking a softer approach for other reasons?”

And the answer may be found in the background to the article first quoted, ‘New Social Services Minister Scott Morrison shows his colours’, where we learn that:

…despite his "tough guy" public image, several welfare and
community groups have said Mr Morrison has been surprisingly easy to
deal with. They have talked about his openness to new ideas and
enthusiasm for the portfolio

Here, however, Morrison was dealing with people who know what they
are talking about, people who deal with welfare at the coalface, people
who deal with welfare on the logistical side, and people who understand
government and policy — people who possess empathy and a belief in
social justice.

The discourse Morrison has been injecting into the “combative space” of public opinion since he took over Social Services would not have cut it with these people and he surely knows that.

Morrison may have changed his rhetorical colours when dealing with
people who know better than he, but should that be taken as an
ideological change? Doubtful!

Indeed, just as using the brochures has come back to bite welfare
recipients, these welfare/community groups may find their polite
conversation with Morrison comes back to bite them — the context twisted
to suit Morrison’s ideology and injected into that “combative space”.

Creative Commons Licence

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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell - Series 5 Episodes 1

Published on 11 Feb 2015
1978. A young man with the wind in his hair, also nits, dreams of a
better life by winning a dusco duncing competution. CAST: Shaun Micallef

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Foreign multinationals circle Medicare

Foreign multinationals circle Medicare 

Reporter for The Canberra Times

 Foreign multinationals are jostling to take over the payment of tens
of billions of dollars in Medicare and other Australian government

Companies from the US, Germany, Japan and Britain have
approached the Commonwealth, interested in taking over the Medicare,
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Veterans Affairs payments in an
outsourcing deal.

Only three home-grown players, Eftpos, Australia
Post and Telstra offshoot Stellar, are in the hunt to secure the
massive contract if the Abbott government decided to go ahead with the


But British  services giant Serco, Japanese-US outfit Fuji-Xerox,
German software behemoth SAP as well as American outsourcing powerhouse
Accenture are all circling too, according to well-placed sources in the
local "business process outsourcing" industry.

The news comes as
Prime Minister Tony Abbott moves to place limits on purchases of
Australian agricultural land by foreign entities.  

The Health
Department called in August 2014 for expressions of interest from
private players interested in taking over the payment of $29 billion
each year in health and pharmaceutical benefits currently managed by the
Human Services.

Human Services Minister Marise Payne says much
of the Department of Human Services IT infrastructure used to process
the payments was ageing and needed to be replaced and the private sector
might be able to supply cheaper solutions.

Do you know more? Send confidential tips to ps@canberratimes.com.au

government has insisted that the expressions of interest process is a
"market testing" exercise but has been coy about those companies
expressing an interest, merely conceding that some of them have had an
"international presence".

Outsourcing industry players have
complained recently that the process has been in a "holding pattern"
with little news trickling out of government.

Senator Payne's office referred questions to the Health Department which said in a statement that progress was being made.

potential to have health service claims and payments provided by
commercial providers has been tested through an initial expression of
Interest process," a spokeswoman said.

"The evaluation of the responses and consideration of options is still in progress."

spokeswoman for Australia Post confirmed on Thursday that the service
was keen to get its hands on the payments contract as part of its
broader expansion plans.

"Australia Post is committed to growing the range of trusted services that we provide our customers," the spokeswoman said.

believe we are uniquely positioned with our extensive distribution
reach and proven trusted services capabilities to deliver more

Oracle, Fuji-Xerox, SAP, Accenture, Serco, Eftpos and
Stellar were all also contacted for comment and only Fuji-Xerox
responded, saying it would not comment.

The Labor opposition,
public sector unions and most recently the Australian Medical
Association have all come out against any move to outsource the payment
with the AMA criticising the idea in its submission to a Parliamentary
committee on health policy.

"The call for expressions of interest
appears to have been made without any analysis of the cost savings and
efficiencies already provided by medical practices," the submission

Shadow minister for Human Services Senator Doug Cameron said
the idea of outsourcing the payments to the private sector was purely

Multinational Medicare:

Oracle (US)

SAP (Germany)

Fuji-Xerox (Japan-US)

Accenture (US)

Serco (Britain)

Eftpos (Australia)

Stellar (Telstra, Australia)

Australia Post (Australia)

Friday, 13 February 2015

Change the entitlements of Australian politicians

Change the entitlements of Australian politicians


I absolutely agree, if a pension isn’t an entitlement, neither
is theirs. They keep telling us that paying us an aged pension isn’t

Paying politicians all the perks they get is even less sustainable!

Proposals to make politicians shoulder their share of the weight now that the Age of Entitlement is over:

1. Scrap political pensions. Politicians can purchase their own
retirement plan, just as most other working Australians are expected to

2. Retired politicians (past, present and future) participate in
Centrelink. A politician collects a substantial salary while in office
but should receive no salary when they’re out of office. Terminated
politicians under 70 can go get a job or apply for Centrelink
unemployment benefits like ordinary Australians. Terminated politicians
under 70 can negotiate with Centrelink like the rest of the Australian

3. Funds already allocated to the politicians’ retirement fund be
returned immediately to Consolidated Revenue. This money is to be used
to pay down debt they created which they expect us and our grandchildren
to repay for them.

4. Politicians will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Politicians pay will rise by the lower of, either the CPI or 3 per cent.

5. Politicians lose their privileged health care system and
participate in the same health care system as ordinary Australian
people, i.e. politicians either pay for private cover from their own
funds or accept ordinary Medicare.

6. Politicians must equally abide by all laws they impose on the Australian people.

7. All contracts with past and present politicians men/women are void ASAP.

The Australian people did not agree to provide perks to politicians,
that burden was thrust upon them. Politicians devised all these
contracts to benefit themselves. Serving in parliament is an honour not a

The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so our politicians
should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

This is how you fix parliament and help bring fairness back into this country!

If you wonder why the above individuals are asking for your help, look at the figures below.


Date of Effect: 1 July 2014

Specified Statutory Office

Base Salary (per annum)

Total Remuneration for office (per annum)

Chief of the Defence Force > $535,100 – $764,420

Commissioner of Taxation > $518,000 – $740,000

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service > $483,840 – $691,200

Auditor-General for Australia > $469,150 – $670,210

Australian Statistician > $469,150 – $670,210

So if I press all the right buttons, the TOTAL annual wages for the 150 seats in the Parliament are:

Prime Minister – $507,338

Deputy Prime Minister – $400,016

Treasurer – $365,868

Leader of the Opposition – $360,990

House of Reps Speaker – $341,477

Leader of the House – $341,477

Minister in Cabinet – $336,599

Parliamentary secretary – $243,912

Other ministers* – $307,329 x 71 = A$21,820,359

Shadow ministers* – $243,912 x 71 = A$17,317,752

The TOTAL ANNUAL SALARIES (for 150 seats) = $41,694,311 – PER YEAR! And that’s just the Federal Politicians, no one else!

For the Œlifetime payment example (below) I used the scenario that:

1. They are paid Œlifetime salaries the same as their last working year and

2. After retiring, the average pollie’s life expectancy is an additional 20 years (which is not unreasonable).

It’s worth remembering that this is EXCLUDING all their other perks!

So, for a 20 years’ Œlifetime payment (excluding wages paid while a parliamentarian):

Prime Minister @ $507,338 = A$10,146,760

Deputy Prime Minister @ $400,016 = A$8,000,320

Treasurer @ $365,868 = A$7,317,360

Leader of the Opposition @ $360,990 = A$7,219,800

House of Reps Speaker @ $341,477 = A$6,829,540

Leader of the House @ $341,477 = A$6,829,540

Minister in Cabinet @ $336,599 = A$6,731,980

Parliamentary Secretary @ $243,912 = A$4,782,240

Other ministers** @ $307,329 = A$6,146,580 x 71 = A$436,407,180

Shadow ministers** @ $243,912 = A$4,878,240 x 71 = A$346,355,040


TOTAL Œlife time (20 year) payments (excluding wages paid while in parliament) = A$833,886,220 ­OVER $833 MILLION

Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, John Howard, Paul Keating, Malcolm Fraser,
Bob Hawke, et al, add nauseum, are receiving $10 MILLION + EXTRA at
taxpayer expense.

Should an elected PM serve 4 years and then decide to retire, each
year (of the 4 years) will have cost taxpayers an EXTRA two and a half
million bucks a year! $2,536,690 to be precise.

A 2-year retirement payment cut-off will SAVE our Oz bottom line A$792,201,909 … NEARLY $800 MILLION.

There are 150 seats in House, minus the 8 above = 142 seats, divided
equally for example = 71 each for both shadow and elected ministers.

This example excludes all wages paid while a parliamentarian AND all
perks on top of that – travel, hotels, Secretarial staff, speech
writers, restaurants, offices, chauffeured limos, security, etc. etc.

150 seats, 20-year payment of A$833,886,220 less annual salary x 2 years of A$83,388,622. [$41,694,311 x 2]


ACTION: Push for a MAX 2 year post-retirement payment (give Œ’em time to get a real job).

Spread it far and wide folks. People should know.

Dr. Dale Kerwin

School of Education

Griffith University

Thank you to the community member who sent this to us.
What do you think of all of this information? Should the post-retirement
payment be cut?

This article was written by Starts at Sixty Writers

Starts at Sixty Writers The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them specially for you.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Should the Senate Block Supply? - The AIM Network

Should the Senate Block Supply? - The AIM Network

Should the Senate Block Supply?

Was this week’s performance in and out of parliament what PM Tony Abbott meant when he told us “good government starts today”? How did it go?

Well, there are no changes in the PM’s office and he regards any questions about it as ‘impertinent’.

The government’s handling of the submarine policy
was an utter shambles with Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews and others
displaying confusion all over what is a tender, what is an evaluation,
was there a promise for a vote, or wasn’t there.

Embattled Treasurer Joe Hockey looking defeated as he faced questions about the budget and the latest unemployment figures.

hcrThen the report on children in detention about which Tony Abbott “feels no shame”.

Instead, he lets loose with a tongue lashing that barely hides
his anger toward Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission who he
said should be ashamed of themselves; a classic case of attacking the
messenger to avoid the message.

The Age newspaper editorial today says, “No, Mr Abbott – it is you and your government that should be ashamed.”

Then came the admission of failure by the PM concerning the Close the Gap report on their Aboriginal Affairs policy. Amy McQuire from New Matilda describes it thus, “blackfellas
across the nation, particularly in remote areas, are preparing to
suffer the devastating consequences of his government’s assimilationist,
paternalistic agenda.”

On top of that the latest unemployment figures, the worst for twelve years, clearly demonstrated the government’s austerity policy was the cause, not the solution.

I can’t remember a week when the media was as critical on such a variety of issues as this week.

There is no previous example by which we can compare how bad this
government is. They have set a new standard for all future
administrations on incompetence, ineptitude, policy failure and public
relations. They are the new benchmark.

Should the senate consider block supply and forcing a new election?
Labor has previously said they would never do this. Yet they, more than
anyone, hold the high moral ground on this issue. The treatment of the
Whitlam government was a travesty of moral justice in 1975.

circumstances surrounding the dismissal by the Governor General Sir
John Kerr were more a conspiracy of power than any genuine concern for
the future of the country.

But what we have today is a concern for the future. At a time when
the economy needs real vision with real policies, real solutions, real
job creation programs, we have a robotic, ideological mindset in control
of the country’s future, a mindset that believes they are heading in
the right direction.

That claim alone tells us they are incompetent. How many people out
of work will it take for them to see the folly of their ways?

The senate has the numbers. How much self-interest will they display
before the reality sets in? Only Labor knows how to arrest a failing
economy. With a workforce underutilisation rate heading toward 16% and a
disaster in youth unemployment, only Labor knows how to respond to an
economic crisis.

In the words of Professor Bill Mitchell, the pre-eminent economist in the country, “They
(the Government) are so obsessed with cutting fiscal deficits that they
cannot see the future damage they are causing as a result of the
appalling state of the youth labour market.”

Michelle Grattan, writing in The Conversation this week says that in what will be a difficult economic year, “the instability within the government will just further harm business confidence.”

Surely we are justified in saying, it’s time.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Monday, 9 February 2015

Australia: this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister - The AIM Network

Australia: this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister - The AIM Network

Australia: this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister

The following speech was taken directly from Hansard, OL Bill Shorten to the House, Monday, 9 February 2015.

Post added by TurnLeft2016

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (09:55): I seek
leave to move that this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Leave not granted.

Mr SHORTEN: I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as
would prevent the member for Maribyrnong from moving the following
motion forthwith:

That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Seventeen months ago the Prime Minister promised Australian voters a
stable, mature and adult government. What has happened? There have been
many promises broken by this government, but the promise to run a stable
and mature government is arguably the biggest broken promise of this
sad government’s last 17 months.

The Australian people, unlike those in the parallel universe the
government inhabits, have watched with amazement in the last few weeks
and days as the once-great Liberal Party huffs and puffs its way up to a
leadership spill. Australians know this government is not working for
them. I say to the Liberal backbenchers of this government and to the
Liberal frontbenchers: it does not matter who you choose. The problem is
not the salesperson; the problem is what you are selling to people.

As for the member for Wentworth, who we just heard from: never has a
member wanted so much yet would do so little to get the position! He,
the Zorro of the dispatch box, has said that he wants the job but he
will not fight for the job. He is prepared to injure his Prime Minister
but he leaves his supporters hanging. He is a veritable ball of

But this is not new in his political career. For two long,
excruciating decades we were with the Hamlet of the Liberal Party—to be
Labor or to be Liberal, that is the question! Oh yes, we like your look.
But in the end, John Howard had a better chance of beating Kim Beazley,
so lucky Liberal Party! The ball of ambivalence chose the Liberals. And
then what did he do when he came to parliament? He stalked poor old
Brendan Nelson. What did Brendan Nelson ever do to deserve Malcolm
Turnbull stalking him?

But, of course, the member for Wentworth was angsting on the spill
motion over the weekend. He was able to be conned by Godwin Grech—and we
will never forget that! Then he could not even come to terms with Nick
Minchin. And there, the man who would be if he could be, got beaten by
Tony Abbott! Not once, not twice but time and time again.

Mr PYNE: Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The
Leader of the Opposition appears to have taken the wrong speech from his
office today. Perhaps they were not prepared for the outcome of this
morning’s meeting? He clearly appears to be talking about the wrong
member of the chamber and you should draw him back to the motion, which
is about the Prime Minister.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House makes the point
that this is a suspension motion and that the Leader of the Opposition
should indeed refer to the suspension motion.

Mr SHORTEN: I take the point of order from the
member for ‘hedging your bets’! I was going to come to the Prime
Minister. I do not often agree with the Prime Minister’s policies—in
fact I very rarely do. But I felt a little bit on Tony Abbott’s point of
view today. I mean, he is not as articulate as the member for
Wentworth, but he is a bundle of fight, our Prime Minister. He is
superglued to that seat, member for Wentworth, and you are going to have
to blast him out!

I admit that our Prime Minister has a lot of energy. He runs around
constantly biting his own tail. But at least he knows how to fight for
something, member for Wentworth. The real shame of this debacle
today—the real shame today—is that it is not who leads the Liberal
Party; it is that we have heard not a word of repentance from the
government about their unfair budget. Australians sat there, perhaps
waiting to see the outcome of the spill that never was. But they waited
to see any humility from any member of the government. The Minister for
Finance let it out of the bag yesterday on Insiders. The interviewer
asked the Minister the Finance:

Has anyone in the ministry ever complained to you about the budget? Have they suggested to you that it was unfair?

And the Minister for Finance said, ‘Not a one.’ Some of them may seek
to blame Prince Philip and the knighthood, some of them may seek to
blame the absentmindedness of Australian voters, some of them may seek
to say that it is the internet or social media and some of the may care
to say that if only people understood what they were selling then things
would be better. Wrong, wrong and wrong again, people. The problem with
this government is that it brought down a budget which broke all the
promises it made. They broke their promises. ‘No new taxes’. Tell that
to the people paying taxes. ‘No cuts to education’. Tell that to the
states losing their funding for schools. Remember the promise about no
changes to health care? Tell that to the people paying the GP tax. This
nation does not need a new Liberal leader; it needs a new government.

The Australian people are resilient despite this circus that those
opposite are running. People are going to work every day, small business
is investing and young people are studying and working in the
restaurants—working hard. You have got the nurses caring for the sick
and the infirm. You have got a lot of people out there in Australia
pulling pretty hard, though what you have got is a nation of lifters
being led by a government of leaners, and that is the problem in this
country. In the last two, three, six and 18 months we have seen this
government fail time and time again. This government will not admit that
it is not the opinion polls which really matter here. What we have is a
government who will not admit that their budget has beaten them. Forget
the embroidery of the Australia Day announcement. Forget the embroidery
of knights and dames. That shows we have the Prime Minister with a
romantic urge for the 1950s—that is life.

It is not the political ineptitude of the government which I worry
about; it is their wrong priorities for the nation. They are more
interested in Buckingham Palace than Beijing. They are more interested
in forcing down an unfair budget, cutting opportunity and cutting hope.
If this government wants to learn anything from the last 18 months, we
give you this advice: do not cut the pensions, do not cut Medicare, do
not introduce a GP tax and do not introduce $100,000 degrees. While you
are at it, why don’t you build the Navy submarines in Australia like you
promised too? While you are at it, here are some other positive ideas
from Labor: maybe we could have a mature debate about becoming a
republic in this country? While we are at it, why don’t we do something
meaningful on the climate change that the on-again, off-again member for
Wentworth believes in?

A government member interjecting—

Mr SHORTEN: He believed it then, but of course we
know and Australia knows that in order for the member for Wentworth to
blast the Prime Minister from his seat, he has to sell out whatever
views he had on climate change. What we see now is a government causing
great disarray with the confidence of Australians. There are clear signs
on what this government should do. In the next 12 months you should—

A government member: What would you do, Bill?

Mr SHORTEN: You are asking what we should do? Do not
cut Medicare. Do not wreck the higher education system. Do not touch
the pensioners. What we need is a strategy for growth in this country
and you do not have it.

Mr Hockey interjecting—

Mr SHORTEN: There is the Treasurer, the ultimate hollow man of Australian politics!

The best proposition we have for this nation is that you drop this
budget in its entirety, admit that you have wasted 18 months of the
nation’s life that we will not get back. Furthermore, we need to stop
the marginalisation of the middle class of Australia. You opened up an
attack on the minimum wage in this country. You opened up an attack on
the aspiration of Australians to have a decent income. You have
abandoned the manufacturing sector in this country. This government
dares to tell people that if they had a different message-maker then all
would be good.

The fundamental problem in this nation is that the Liberal Party has
drifted too far to the right. You no longer represent the mainstream of
Australian thinking. In that last budget you certainly bit off more than
you could chew, and it was because you broke the covenant of trust with
the Australian voters. You can sit there and you can put your hands
over your ears and say, ‘None of this is true.’ But the truth of the
matter is that Australians have low tolerance for a government who lied
their way into office. You do not need different social media. You do
not need to have different leaders. What you have to do is to not tell
lies to the Australian people. This morning was a debacle. We know it
was a debacle, and you know it was a debacle, as are these constant
references saying that somehow you have sorted all your issues out.
Until you sort out the budget and until you sort out your attack on the
working people of Australia, and until you stop intimidating and
oppressing the poor and the vulnerable in Australia, your problems will
never be fixed.

The Liberal Party has moved the political debate in this country far
too much to the extremes. You are an extreme government motivated by an
extreme ideology and the member for Wentworth, no matter what he has
said in the past, has shown that he is a man prepared to say and do
anything to be the Prime Minister of the Liberal Party, and that is not
good enough for this country. Australians have not only worked out this
Prime Minister; they have worked out the member for Wentworth—a man who
will say and do anything to be in power. The answer is clear: we need to
have a government who will not cut pensions, who will not introduce— (Time expired)

Source: Hansard