MATTERS OF URGENCY – Albanese Government, Wednesday December 6th, 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (17:16): I thank Senator Hanson for raising this urgency motion, which I obviously wholeheartedly support. The Albanese Labor government have truly—and I do mean truly—lost the confidence of the Australian people and lost the confidence of those in this chamber that have a brain between their ears.

Charles Dickens summed up the Albanese government perfectly when he said:

… it was the worst of times, … it was the age of foolishness, … it was the season of Darkness, … it was the winter of despair …

That’s what he said. Or, as the front page headline of yesterday’s West Australian newspaper declared, ‘Everything is f*cked’. That’s a quote that was on the newspaper. The headline was crude—I’ll admit that—but the fact that the editor even believed that he could get away with it in the first place tells you where public sentiment is at right now with this government.

If there has been a more chaotic government in this country’s history, Mr Kevin Rudd would love to hear about it. If there has been a more economically clueless government in this country’s history, Gough Whitlam is all ears. This Albanese government—or, as the Chinese have taken to calling it, ‘the handsome boy administration’—makes Whitlam look like a fiscal conservative and makes Rudd look like a strategic genius. That’s what it does. This government is so bad that people are even nostalgic about the Gillard government. Those were the days: the Gillard government!

This government promised lower electricity prices. What did we get? We got higher prices. They promised cheaper mortgages. What did we get? Eighteen months and 12 rate rises—that’s what we got—and thousands of Australians becoming homeless every single month. This government promised us that they had a plan. To do what? They had a plan to lower the cost of living. What did we get? Grocery prices that require people to sell their firstborn child to pay the bill at the check-out. This government promised higher wages.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Allman-Payne ): Senator Bilyk?

Senator Bilyk: I have a point of order. I’m actually really offended by the fact that you’re talking about people selling their firstborn children. I’m very offended by that. I take very personal, deep offence to that comment, and I would like it withdrawn at once.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Bilyk, thank you. You’ve made your point of order.

Senator Bilyk interjecting

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Bilyk! Senator Babet, it would assist the chamber if you would withdraw the comment.

Senator BABET: I don’t think I will withdraw that, because the Senate is a place for robust debate, and that’s what is happening right now.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Babet, I’ve taken advice from the Clerk. I’ve asked you to withdraw; therefore, you are required to withdraw.

Senator BABET: No. I will not withdraw.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Babet, I’m advised by the Clerk that, as I have requested that you withdraw, you need to withdraw. Otherwise, it’s open to me to withdraw the call from you.

Senator BABET: What I’d like to hear, Acting Deputy President, is an explanation as to why—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Babet, this is not a point for debate.

Senator BABET: Alright—if it pleases the chamber, I’m happy to withdraw. I want to move on. Can I continue?

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: You have the call.

Senator BABET: Thank you, thank you, thank you. This government promised higher wages, but what did we get? It was the biggest income decline in the developed world. That’s what we got. It was the largest fall in living standards in any advanced economy over the past year. This government promised it would fix the housing crisis. What did we get? It was record immigration numbers. More and more people are coming into this country, and we can’t even put a roof over the heads of the people that are already here. That’s what they’ve done. This government promised a royal commission? What did we get? Where’s the royal commission into the pandemic response? We got a whitewashed COVID inquiry with no teeth, designed to cover up the failings of this political class, who wouldn’t even support my inquiry into excess mortality.

This government promised no new taxes on your hard-earned super. What did we get? We got a doubling of the concessional tax rate on some superannuation accounts and the taxing of unrealised gains. This government promised us that they would bring the country together and bring Australians together. What did we get? We got a socially divisive referendum that attempted to divide us by race. That cost hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s what we got. This government promised a kinder, gentler, more respectful tone. What did we get? We got Labor ministers defaming the Leader of the Opposition as a paedophile protector. That’s what we got. We got a Prime Minister who dismisses those with questions as nothing but chicken littles. That’s what we got.

I’m almost out of time. I haven’t even touched on the energy crisis, the infrastructure crisis, the multiple foreign affairs bungles, the hopeless state of our Defence Force, the epic unsustainability of the NDIS, the war on small business, our woke educational system or the legislated theft of wages from casual employees. What is this Labor government? It is a ship without a rudder at sea in one of the most turbulent times in modern history. To be blunt, this government is a disaster. That’s what it is. I and many other Australians have no confidence in this government’s ability to do anything apart from make it worse.