November 10, 2015
Mr CHESTER (Gippsland—Assistant Minister for Defence) (15:40): It is a great pleasure to join this matter of importance discussion in this Labor’s proclaimed year of big ideas. It is November now and it seems that after 11 months they have had no ideas. We are finally starting to see the full extent of Labor’s big ideas. You can imagine the brains trust—I use the term ‘brains trust’ very loosely—or the parliamentary tactics committee saying, ‘We need to release our first big idea, so let’s run a scare campaign on household budgets. If that doesn’t work, how about we run a scare campaign on the Prime Minister’s wealth. If all else fails, let’s run a scare campaign on taxes and the GST.’
Ms Macklin: How much was a lamb roast?
Mr CHESTER: It is good to see the member for Jagajaga is with us. I will always welcome the member for Jagajaga in my electorate. In fact, I am happy to arrange a visit. We can go down to Gippsland together, we can meet the workers and you can tell them why you wanted to sack them. You can say why you wanted to sack all those power station workers. You can tell them. I look forward to you explaining why Labor had a policy of contracts for closure to sack blue-collar workers in my electorate. I look forward to that. You can explain how that helps the household budget. How does it help the household budget to sack the workers, member for Jagajaga?
Ms Macklin: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker: I thought we were in some new paradigm where we did not have scare campaigns.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Vasta ): There is no point of order.
Mr CHESTER: It might be a scare campaign but I am quoting your policy—this is your policy, member for Jagajaga. You will remember it well. How does it help the family budget to sack blue-collar workers in Gippsland? That was your policy—you took it to the Australian people and they rejected it. They rejected your policy.
Ms Macklin: What is your policy?
Mr CHESTER: Our policy is to get rid of the carbon tax, and we have. What is the next scare campaign? Malcolm Turnbull is going to cancel Christmas? Barnaby Joyce is going to shoot the Easter Bunny? What is the next scare campaign? The Australian people have moved on. The Australian people are better than the Australian Labor Party. The Australian people simply do not want Labor back. I know it may come as a rude newsflash, but they do not want you back. The Australian people are saying to Labor, ‘You had your chance, you failed and we do not want you back.’ I know it is painful. I know opposition is no fun; it is no fun at all—I had six or so years there. But the not so scary scare campaign is not working with the Australian people. The Australian people honoured us with their vote. They honoured us with the opportunity to govern the greatest nation in the world, and they instinctively understood that we had a big job to do. They knew we had a big job to do; they instinctively understood that we had to clean up Labor’s mess. I get out a lot in Gippsland, I get out a lot in regional Australia, and a lot of people from all walks of life talk to me about very important issues. They talk about roads, they talk about health, they talk about education, they talk about jobs, and do you know what? In the past two years not one person has ever said to me in Gippsland, ‘Oh gee, I wish Labor was back.’ They do not want you back. I wish I could tell you it is not personal but it I am sorry it is personal, member for Jagajaga. They simply do not trust you. The Australian people do not trust you. They do not trust you to make the big decisions. The Australian people do not trust you with their money and they simply will not trust you with their vote. We are getting on with the job of delivering for regional Australians and governing for all Australians. While Labor is stuck in the past, with more and more not so scary scare campaigns—
Ms Macklin: What about the family budget?
Mr CHESTER: I know those opposite do not want to hear the good news, but there is good news. Roy Morgan Research says business confidence increased by 6.5 points in October.
Mr Hartsuyker: How much?
Mr CHESTER: By 6.5 points. That is good news—good news for the economy, very positive, giving business confidence to create new jobs; 200,000 jobs created by business in the past 12 months.
Mr Conroy interjecting—
Mr CHESTER: Don’t you want to hear the good news? They do not want to hear about confidence; they do not want to hear about new jobs—it is much better to run a scare campaign! We are getting out there and building new infrastructure, particularly in regional areas—there is a $50 billion infrastructure plan being delivered right now throughout Australia, creating new jobs and improving productivity. Those opposite simply do not want to hear the good news. They simply do not want to hear how this government is getting on with the job of delivering for all Australians. I look forward to the member for Jagajaga joining me in Gippsland and talking to Gippslanders about how their family budget will be affected when the Labor Party’s policy results in blue-collar workers being sacked. The member for Jagajaga is most welcome to come to Gippsland at any time. I am happy to arrange a visit for her. (Time expired)