Senator McGRATH: I would like to pay tribute to Senator Cormann for calling out Labor on its policy position. Senator Cormann is someone—and people in this chamber may not know this—who, when the Berlin Wall was falling, drove with some university friends across to Berlin to watch the wall fall down and watch those East Berliners, those East Germans, run to freedom. We in this place have got to remember our history, and we’ve got to remember the part that the Labor Party has played in the history of Australia in terms of its failures at socialism. They admit over there that sometimes they’re not very good socialists. That’s because they’re incompetent at everything they do, whether it is socialism or capitalism.
What we’ve got with the modern Labor Party is a leader who doesn’t have a backbone or an inherent set of values. What the Leader of the Opposition has realised is that the best way for him to win the election is look around and plagiarise. Mr Shorten has got on the interweb and typed in ‘how to win an election’, and what’s come up is what Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have been doing in terms of this class-based warfare; this warfare of envy; this ‘them and us’ approach. In the Liberal National Party, we believe in freedom and lower taxes. We believe you get on with your lives and do it. We believe in smaller government and lower taxes. You want to grow your family, you want to grow your business, go ahead and do it. What’s happened with the modern Labor Party is they’ve looked at what Jeremy Corbyn has done—that bearded nut job who is currently the leader of the British Labour Party. This is the guy who opposed the Northern Ireland peace process, who supports the IRA and who supports the PLO. They’ve looked at what Jeremy Corbyn has done and they’ve gone, ‘He’s promised to raise taxes. He’s promised free money,’ so Bill Shorten and the shadow cabinet have danced around the magic money tree like a bunch of drunken wobbegongs and gone, ‘Come on down! We want all the free money to come on down’. They don’t know where it’s going to come from, except that they are going to tax other people for it. If the modern Labor Party stands for anything today, it stands for taxing. It stands for new taxes; it stands for more taxes; it stands for higher taxes.
But if it doesn’t stand for taxes, let’s look at what they are doing with electricity. Let’s look at South Australia. When you look at this motion, it talks about the obsession of the Turnbull government blah, blah, blah, rather than the economic priorities of Australian families in 2017. Let’s look at Australian families who live in South Australia, who don’t have a reliable electricity market. The modern Labor Party want South Australian families to power their homes not through coal but through a combination of rhythmic dancing, rabbit droppings and the squawks of galas—rather than making sure that when people turn on their light switches, the lights turn on, and when they turn on their TVs, their TVs come on. This is because Labor actually doesn’t care about helping families; they care about themselves.
When you look at the history of Labor in Australia, we on this side remember, and that’s why we will oppose Labor until the day we die. We remember the state in which you left this country in 1931. We remember what you tried to do in 1949. We remember what you did in 1975—how you wanted to borrow money from the Baath Party of Iraq. We remember the state in which you left this country in 1996, when your Treasurer, who became Prime Minister, forced a recession upon this country—the recession that we had to have. How did that help Australian families?
My people in Queensland remember what Labor did to Australian families. We remember those high interest rates. We remember you forcing businesses to go to the ground. We remember families out in the street because of the failures of Labor’s economic policies. We remember the state that this country was left in when we lost office, sadly, in 2007—there was no debt at all. But in 2013, when we won office, the debt was going through the roof. That is hurting Australian families, because Labor actually only cares about power; they do not care about Australian families. They like to do these wedge politics. They’ve looked at Jeremy Corbyn. They want a them-and-us approach to Australian politics. But what they should be doing is working with the government to deliver lower taxes, to deliver a smaller government so businesses can grow and employ more people and get people more money in their back pockets so they can go and spend it.