By Terri Butler MP

29 October 2020

That was a bizarre contribution from the assistant minister, who seemed to spend more time talk about the member for Shortland than defending his own government's record. But how can he defend his own government's record? They have no record to defend. The Prime Minister spent a week campaigning for the LNP in the Queensland state election, including attending an LNP fundraiser with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Queensland opposition leader, but at the same time he claims he hasn't had time to establish a national integrity commission. The Prime Minister has got time to help his LNP and other mates in Queensland, but he doesn't have time to establish a national integrity commission. He has time to rack up a trillion dollars of debt, but no time to make sure his government leaves no one behind. He's had time to send out 50 press releases in four years since he personally announced, when he was the Treasurer, the establishment of the National Water Infrastructure Loans Facility, and that facility was abolished a couple of weeks ago without having written a single loan. They wrote 50 press releases; they wrote zero loans. This is a government that produces nothing for Australia but media releases, photo ops and announcements.

This government's message to Australians is: what's yours is ours. The Prime Minister's golden rule is: we look after our mates. This is the sort of Prime Minister that we're dealing with. Can I tell the House that in Queensland the Prime Minister has some frankly terrible mates. I would like to start with the LNP leader in Queensland, Deb Frecklington. She's one of the worst mates to have, and she is someone that the Prime Minister spent a lot of time with recently. By the way, the Queensland LNP have been resisting telling Queenslanders how they will pay for their promises until today, two days before the state election—they didn't want anyone to know how they were going to do that particular pea and thimble trick. Deb Frecklington was Campbell Newman's assistant minister when the LNP was last in government. This is a government—the Campbell Newman government, the LNP government—that sacked tens of thousands of Queensland workers. I'm talking of course—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Llew O'Brien ): I'm just going to say to the member that, whilst the MPI subject is pretty broad, you're speaking a lot on a whole different government.

Ms BUTLER: As you know, Deputy Speaker, I'm talking here about the Prime Minister having the wrong priorities for the people of Australia. This is a Prime Minister who spent time in the Queensland state election campaigning, and you will be shocked to hear about the fact that this LNP leader that I'm talking about, who was, as I said, Campbell Newman's assistant minister when he was the Premier of Queensland, was a direct party to all of those sackings. Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs—my mother included, for that matter—when Mr Newman was Premier of Queensland. It was a very short tenure indeed, but, of course, a lot of damage was wreaked. Remember, he picked fights with the judges, with the teachers, with the doctors—imagine picking fights with the doctors, with the nurses, the education people. This is the sort of mob this Prime Minister is friends with in Queensland. This is not to mention broad-scale land clearing—such massive damage across Queensland.

The fact is it's Queensland Labor that has a plan for the future and it's the LNP that has a plan for cuts. I might also say—

A government member interjecting—

Ms Butler: I take the interjection. The Premier clearly won. If you have a look at the stats from the votes, you see your poor old leader did not do very well.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Griffith will resume her seat. The minister will cease interjecting and the member will direct her comments through the chair, please.

Ms BUTLER: One of the reasons, of course, that the person the member opposite was referring to is so unpopular is that the leader of the LNP in Queensland called for Queensland's borders to be reopened 64 times. These borders have kept Queenslanders safe, and what she said is an absolute disgrace.

But another mate of the Prime Minister's is Mr Clive Palmer, a former member of this House. The Prime Minister—speaking of priorities—has had time to subsidise his mate Clive's private jet but no time to establish a national integrity commission. This is the same Clive Palmer, by the way, who is mounting a disinformation campaign of blatant outright lies to try to hack the Queensland election, the same Clive who spent $84 million in the federal election and said he deliberately decided to polarise the electorate by running attacks on Labor in the campaign's final weeks. It's an absolute disgrace, and the LNP should be ashamed. (Time expired)