I woke up this morning under the heavy effects of the flu and, as I sat on the side of the bed, I thought the only redeeming feature was that the day could not get any worse.
Then I walked in here, smack-bang into a lecture from the Greens on matters of the economy. I tell you, that smacks of complete hypocrisy. This is a party that is determined to shut down the black coal industry, taking away the tens upon tens upon tens of thousands of jobs in the economy—a vital part of our economy, the resources sector.
They do not want us to dig another hole or scratch another bush out of the way to take the wealth out of the ground of this nation and spend it for the benefit of all; they want to shut down agricultural industries—everything. They do not want us just to change the practices in the bush and agricultural industries; they want to shut them down.
This is the crowd that joined the Australian Labor Party with such blinding vision in terms of economic production with pink batts and school halls and hundred-dollar cheques for every individual in the country, leaving us with this massive, massive, massive national debt. And you are a part of it—through you, Mr Acting Deputy President.
I sit here and have had a lecture for 20 minutes on why we do not have a problem and, of course, they would never attach themselves to the problem. If you listen carefully to the contribution of Senator Whish-Wilson— and, I am sure, to all the contributions that will come from this line of vision—you will not hear one of them tie themselves to an issue or a campaign that will resolve this atrocious economic situation that we find ourselves in, that is a legacy of mismanagement from the Greens-Labor coalition all those years ago.
We now have deficits running at over $40 billion annually. You want to talk about generational debt? From the Howard years, my children were left with a clean bill of health on the economy. We were in the black. Imagine that: we were in the black; and you want to compare the investment decisions that your side of politics made to ours over time. We have a $50 billion infrastructure program going on. Let’s talk about my home state. You want to talk about infrastructure? I will talk to you about the range crossing.
I will talk to you about $2 billion being invested there so the commodities of Western and south-western Queensland can make their way to the markets. You want to talk about investment? I am happy to talk about Sky Muster, where we are now going to provide, for the first time, communications to people in the bush and regional Australia on a level that they have never been able to experience, which will increase their capacity to increase their productivity and ability to bring the nation’s books back into account.
You ignored all the programs laid out yesterday by the Governor-General’s speech about the economy. You did not talk about the impacts on national security and the investment being made by this government to make sure that we live in a safe and balanced society here in Australia—all the issues and the investment and the effort that has been made with counterterrorism, working on the digital defence and cybersecurity that this nation requires.
But it is the infrastructure that I want to come back to for a few moments, because you talk about Tasmania —Tasmania needs our share of infrastructure spending than someone else’s because it is an economy that has lagged for decades underneath the glove of the Greens preventing economic growth in that home state. What you need to do is to take a leaf out of our book and start to become pro-development, where you can properly exploit the natural resources of your state and start to pay your own way.
That is what you need to do. You made no mention of that during your contribution in this place. My contribution is going to be short today, and I know that that will disappoint Senator Whish-Wilson. But I want to say that the Governor-General’s speech yesterday laid down a balanced program. It laid down a plan —a plan that has courage.
It is a plan that has a government that is prepared to go forward and implement the measures it puts in place to ensure that our government leaves behind it, in the fullness of time, legacies for the next generation so they will not be burdened with massive levels of debt, massive deficits, structural deficits that are going to go on for decades.
The government cannot do it without the support and cooperation of the other side, and it would appear that, once again, it is business as usual—they are not going to support us in this endeavour.