MPI on the Albanese Government
MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
I'd like to thank the member for Hume for the matter of public importance today, noting of course that the member for Hume didn't stay for the discussion—nor did the member for Page stay for the discussion. I'd like to thank the colleagues on this side of the House who are here for the discussion and who've stayed for the discussion because we take our jobs in this place seriously. Five minutes is sometimes a long time in this place—as the member for Riverina leaves after his long five-minute contribution. Five minutes is a long time sometimes in this place, and 10 months can go just like that. And 10 years? Ten years can do so much damage.
We've had 10 years of a government that refused to acknowledge the need for action on climate change—so much damage. We've had 10 years of a government that refused to see education as an investment, seeing it only as a cost, and then chose to fund the private sector more than the public sector. We've had 10 years of a government that oversaw a rise in the cost of child care to 49 per cent, as we heard today from the education minister, a government which should be responsible for these things. We've had 10 years of a government under which the Australian public lost faith in the integrity of this place. We've had 10 years of a government that didn't come into this place every day with a razor-sharp focus on the Australian public and on building back confidence and belief in our domestic conventions and institutions. In 10 months, this government has been focused on all of those things.
It was 10 years of a government that cared so little about the cost of living for those who had ever accessed social security that it thought it was appropriate to introduce an unlawful system that targeted some of our most vulnerable. It wasn't just our most vulnerable that were targeted; it was young people. The government targeted people who had been students. People had accessed our safety net to support themselves while they were studying, only to find, as I did, sitting with many of them in my electorate, that when they got their first job they were hit with an unlawful and wrong robodebt. People were told, through the issuing of that debt and the skitching of debt collectors after them, that they had done something wrong. I said to young people in my electorate, 'You need to fight this, because in paying it back you're acknowledging that you defrauded the Commonwealth, when in fact you did not.'
That's the government we had for 10 years, and in 10 months this government has worked solidly on the commitments that we took to the election to rebuild the faith of the Australian public in this institution, to rebuild the faith of the Australian public that a federal government can exist and can do things about the cost-of-living crisis as well as introduce the things we promised to do. That's what this government is about. We can say they've been a good 10 months because what we've done in those 10 months is deliver on our promises. Cheaper childcare was a commitment. It's also a cost-of-living relief.
I hear the interjection about power prices from over there. You know what this government sees? This government sees every challenge in this country as an opportunity, and the challenge of climate change is an opportunity to become a clean, green energy superpower. That's how this government sees the world. Every challenge is an opportunity. When we were elected only to find the hidden promise was a great increase in power prices, did we shirk it? No, we confronted it. We say: 'There's a challenge. What will we do about that? Let me think—we'll bring parliament back and we'll do something to support those families. We'll bring in legislation to this place and not waste a minute, not say it's close to Christmas, we'll deal with that in January.' No, no, no. We brought parliament back to pass legislation, only to find that in these 10 months those opposite couldn't bring themselves to support the Australian public and to support this government. We've been a good government because we've got on with the job.
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July 31, 2023