THURSDAY, 24 AUGUST 2017
SUBJECT/S: Mathias Cormann’s desperate rant; Turnbull Government’s citizenship crisis
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Good morning. The Turnbull Government lost its way some time ago and now, with this bizarre intervention from Mathias Cormann, we now know that they've also completely lost the plot. Cormann's effort last night was another bizarre contribution in a long line of conspiracy theories designed to distract from a desperate, divided and completely dysfuctional Government. Last night's speech was a disturbing insight into the mindset of the Turnbull Government.
Mathias Cormann has now had his Julie Bishop moment. Last week, they were on about colluding with the Kiwis and now they're on about reds under the bed. And what the Liberal Party wants you to believe, what they want the Australian people to believe, is that we've reached the point where Bill Shorten is somehow an East German, Soviet-sympathising, Kiwi-colluding secret British agent and, simultaneously, the Leader of the Opposition.
There's a contagion of conspiracy infecting the Turnbull Government and Mathias Cormann is really just the latest victim. This is more pathetic and breathless hyperbole to distract from a Government stumbling from crisis to crisis and trying to distract from an economic agenda which is out of touch and discredited and represents the trickle-down approach to the economy we know has failed.
When they write the short and sad and sorry history of the Turnbull Government, I think this moment last night might come to be known as the moment when the wheels finally fell off.
Desperate ranting from Mathias Cormann is no substitute for economic leadership, it's an admission of failure. This is a Government that promised to provide economic leadership and instead we get these desperate rantings from an unhinged and divided Government.
The truth is, that trickle-down economics practised by the Turnbull Government is a threat to aspiration. It hasn't worked elsewhere around the world. It isn't working here and it's time for a new approach. It's time for an approach to the economy which recognises that we need economic growth to be inclusive and from the bottom up; we need to reward hard work, not cut people's pay when they work on the weekends; and we need a decent social safety net. We don't want to continue to hack at the social safety net like Mathias Cormann and Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull want to do.
And the contrast is pretty clear between the Liberal Party, with their desperate rantings and their trickle-down economics, and the Labor Party, which is really the only party in the Commonwealth Parliament that is ready, willing and able to provide the economic leadership that Malcolm Turnbull promised but has failed to deliver. We've got plans to make the tax system fairer; we've got plans to fix the Budget in a fair way; plans for housing affordability; plans to restore penalty rates. Right across economic policy, we've got a series of carefully considered, thought out, costed policies on the table for people to evaluate. In contrast, we've got a Turnbull Government which is represented by Mathias Cormann's rantings about reds under the bed and Soviet Russia.
CHALMERS: The High Court will come to their conclusions and they will work through the issues before them. I'd just like to make a broader point. When it comes to the citizenship debacle in the Commonwealth Parliament, we've got a Turnbull Government that has lurched from incompetence to conspiracy theories and now total and utter chaos. And all we've been asking for throughout is for Barnaby Joyce to comply with the same standard that Matt Canavan complied with by standing aside from his ministry while his citizenship was being determined. We have the bizarre situation in this country where the Government of the day cannot even tell us without the help of the High Court whether their slim majority is a majority whatsoever. And, as the Australian people know all too well, this is the Parliament which has cut their penalty rates, which wants to give $65 billion to multinational corporations and the four big banks, which wants to do all these sorts of things based on the majority that the Turnbull Government can't even tell us whether or not it exists or is legitimate.