The Turnbull government is a mess - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

What a farce

Terri Butler speaking in the House of Representatives on 17 August 2017 on the Turnbull Government. 

Read the full speech below. 

Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (15:46): What a ridiculous excuse for a government; what a farce this government is. This has been a week of revelation. Not even I realised just how ridiculous this government has been. I'd like to start by telling the House that I have uncovered, finally, an explanation as to why this government has such a poor record when it comes to investment in infrastructure. Obviously, they don't like investing in infrastructure. They are not a government that is big on investing in infrastructure. They would rather complain about Labor than get to work and do anything. They would rather complain and whinge—we've seen that from the Prime Minister today. It turns out there is an even more interesting explanation for this government's failure to invest in infrastructure. And that explanation is this: it turns out they think that people will want to marry infrastructure if we change the marriage laws. They actually think that people will want to marry the Sydney Harbour Bridge. That's why they haven't invested in infrastructure—they actually think that it might lead to people getting married to infrastructure. We've seen Senator Abetz today in the news indicating that he thinks that, if we change the marriage laws to allow people to get married to each other, then the obvious and necessary consequence of that is people wanting to marry the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Ms Lamb: It's laughable.

Ms BUTLER: It is laughable—that's absolutely right, Member for Longman. But unfortunately it is not even close to the most laughable thing that's happened this week. In respect of the ridiculous marriage survey that this government wants us to have, we've had the Special Minister of State having to go out and clean up this government's messes when it comes to silent enrollers and people overseas. We've had the Treasurer be embarrassed and humiliated when the Parliamentary Budget Office put out a correction in respect of his claim that some figures that he had published were PBO figures.

We've had the ridiculousness—and it's hard to top this—of a foreign minister of this nation managing to utterly overegg the pudding, to the extent that we had not just Labor deservedly laughing at the foreign minister but the press gallery utterly demolishing her arguments. You've got to worry about what this is going to mean for Australia—this vast, treacherous, treasonous conspiracy that the foreign minister is unveiling—when it comes to the Australia-New Zealand relationship. We need to seriously consider worrying about not just whether people are getting married to the Sydney Harbour Bridge but whether we should have the Navy stationed under it so that when people come across the Ditch to invade we're ready for them. I have to tell you, she is right to be worried about the New Zealanders. I have been to an All Blacks match; I've seen the haka, and I was intimidated. She should be worried about the New Zealanders coming over the Ditch to invade.

But I have to say: all of these examples of ridiculousness, as entertaining as they are in a shallow and superficial way, actually mean that this government has spent the entire week wasting its time instead of dealing with serious issues. HILDA came out recently, and what did it show: incomes have declined. Private debt for under-40s is at record levels. Homeownership for under-40s is incredibly low. We heard the previous speaker talk about employment, but what he didn't want to mention—for obvious reasons—is that underemployment is at record highs in this country and wages growth is at record lows. This year we saw the wages price index at a lower rate than the consumer price index: a real pay cut for Australians. And what is this government doing about it? It is doing nothing about it.

I'll tell you what the government hasn't done: it hasn't stepped in in order to protect people who are having their penalty rates cut. We had an opportunity to prevent those cuts from taking effect. There was a vote in this parliament, and this parliament failed to pass legislation to protect those workers. Why? Because, in the House of Representatives, we lost a vote by one vote—one vote that could have prevented penalty rates from being cut for 700,000 workers. And why did we lose that vote? Because there is one member in this chamber who was a foreign citizen at the time that he was elected, and he should not have exercised a vote. Had he not exercised a vote, we would have stopped penalty rate cuts for 700,000 low-paid Australian workers. We would have a banking royal commission going ahead right now if the Deputy Prime Minister had not been illegitimately exercising a vote in this parliament. The ridiculousness of this week—the crazy, ridiculous ideas of Senator Abetz and of the foreign minister—has been disgraceful. This government is a mess. (Time expired)

Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (15:46): What a ridiculous excuse for a government; what a farce this government is. This has been a week of revelation. Not even I realised just how ridiculous this government has been. I'd like to start by telling the House that I have uncovered, finally, an explanation as to why this government has such a poor record when it comes to investment in infrastructure. Obviously, they don't like investing in infrastructure. They are not a government that is big on investing in infrastructure. They would rather complain about Labor than get to work and do anything. They would rather complain and whinge—we've seen that from the Prime Minister today. It turns out there is an even more interesting explanation for this government's failure to invest in infrastructure. And that explanation is this: it turns out they think that people will want to marry infrastructure if we change the marriage laws. They actually think that people will want to marry the Sydney Harbour Bridge. That's why they haven't invested in infrastructure—they actually think that it might lead to people getting married to infrastructure. We've seen Senator Abetz today in the news indicating that he thinks that, if we change the marriage laws to allow people to get married to each other, then the obvious and necessary consequence of that is people wanting to marry the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Photo of MPMs Lamb: It's laughable.

Photo of MPMs BUTLER: It is laughable—that's absolutely right, Member for Longman. But unfortunately it is not even close to the most laughable thing that's happened this week. In respect of the ridiculous marriage survey that this government wants us to have, we've had the Special Minister of State having to go out and clean up this government's messes when it comes to silent enrollers and people overseas. We've had the Treasurer be embarrassed and humiliated when the Parliamentary Budget Office put out a correction in respect of his claim that some figures that he had published were PBO figures.

We've had the ridiculousness—and it's hard to top this—of a foreign minister of this nation managing to utterly overegg the pudding, to the extent that we had not just Labor deservedly laughing at the foreign minister but the press gallery utterly demolishing her arguments. You've got to worry about what this is going to mean for Australia—this vast, treacherous, treasonous conspiracy that the foreign minister is unveiling—when it comes to the Australia-New Zealand relationship. We need to seriously consider worrying about not just whether people are getting married to the Sydney Harbour Bridge but whether we should have the Navy stationed under it so that when people come across the Ditch to invade we're ready for them. I have to tell you, she is right to be worried about the New Zealanders. I have been to an All Blacks match; I've seen the haka, and I was intimidated. She should be worried about the New Zealanders coming over the Ditch to invade.

But I have to say: all of these examples of ridiculousness, as entertaining as they are in a shallow and superficial way, actually mean that this government has spent the entire week wasting its time instead of dealing with serious issues. HILDA came out recently, and what did it show: incomes have declined. Private debt for under-40s is at record levels. Homeownership for under-40s is incredibly low. We heard the previous speaker talk about employment, but what he didn't want to mention—for obvious reasons—is that underemployment is at record highs in this country and wages growth is at record lows. This year we saw the wages price index at a lower rate than the consumer price index: a real pay cut for Australians. And what is this government doing about it? It is doing nothing about it.

I'll tell you what the government hasn't done: it hasn't stepped in in order to protect people who are having their penalty rates cut. We had an opportunity to prevent those cuts from taking effect. There was a vote in this parliament, and this parliament failed to pass legislation to protect those workers. Why? Because, in the House of Representatives, we lost a vote by one vote—one vote that could have prevented penalty rates from being cut for 700,000 workers. And why did we lose that vote? Because there is one member in this chamber who was a foreign citizen at the time that he was elected, and he should not have exercised a vote. Had he not exercised a vote, we would have stopped penalty rate cuts for 700,000 low-paid Australian workers. We would have a banking royal commission going ahead right now if the Deputy Prime Minister had not been illegitimately exercising a vote in this parliament. The ridiculousness of this week—the crazy, ridiculous ideas of Senator Abetz and of the foreign minister—has been disgraceful. This government is a mess. (Time expired)

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