Remarks at Government Party Room Meeting

August 29, 2016



Welcome to the 45th Parliament. This is the term of delivery.

This is the term in which we honour our election commitments, which we deliver on the strong, clear economic plan that we took to the election – which the Australian people endorsed and returned us to the Treasury benches with a responsibility of leading this nation for the next three years.

Now this week we will be introducing a large number of bills - and we will be considering them in a moment - first and foremost; vital pieces of  industrial relations reform, major reform.

Restoring the rule of law to the construction industry, bringing back the Building and Construction Commission, restoring transparency and accountability to trade unions and employer organisers with a Registered Organisations Bill.

Those two bills were the triggers for the double dissolution. That's why we went to a double dissolution, so committed were we to those important pieces of reform, their significance underlined by the findings of the Heydon Royal Commission. These are reforms that will transform, for the better, a construction sector that employs a million people. One of the most important industries, sectors in our economy, where costs are being blown out by lawlessness and by union thuggery, by complete disregard for the rule of law which we are committed to ensure prevails across our nation and in every industry.

We will also be bringing in as part of that industrial relations reform package, legislation to protect the fire emergency, the firefighters of the CFA, the Country Fire Authority of Victoria.

Those state emergency workers, those volunteer firefighters in Victoria have been disregarded, disrespected by the Andrews Labor Government. Michaelia Cash has put together the legislation that will ensure that they are protected under Federal legislation. But you know, above all of that, this Parliament faces and we face - our Government faces - a massive moral challenge. It is the task of Budget repair. It's more than economics. It is more than fiscal matters. It's not just a technical issue. This is a fundamental moral challenge.

How long are we prepared as a nation, as a generation, to load more and more debt onto the shoulders of our children and grandchildren? How long are we prepared to live beyond our means, to live effectively on the credit card of the generations that come after us? We have a task. We have a task and this Parliament has a task.

Every Member and every Senator, regardless of their party, regardless of whether they are part of the Government or the Opposition or the crossbenches - has a responsibility to face this reality. The time for hiding under the doona is over. We cannot see the world other than as it really is. We need to be utterly clear-eyed about this. We can't imagine the world is, as we fondly think it might once have been, or as we would like it to be.

We are living beyond our means and we have to take on this task of Budget repair.

Today you have before us here, the Omnibus Savings Bill with savings of more than $6 billion. This will be brought into the Parliament this week. This represents savings which the Labor Party committed to during the election, and we asked them to support them, to be true to their word in this Parliament.

We are asking them to do no more than to vote in the Parliament for the savings they appropriated for their own purposes during the election campaign. We are asking them to show the integrity that every Australian is entitled to expect from their elected representatives. But there is much more that we have to do.

I said this was a term of delivery, and we will be judged, our Government will be judged, our Parliament will be judged, on what we deliver. We have huge plans. For infrastructure, we are completing the National Broadband Network. More than a quarter completed. Think of this - in six years of Labor Government, they connected 50,000 premises to the NBN - we've connected well over 80,000 in the last month and 1.25 million connected. More than a quarter of the population has access, is connected to the NBN or has access to the NBN. In a year it will be half, in two years it is will be three-quarters and not long after the end of this Parliament, the project will be complete. That's the difference between competent, Coalition leadership and the incompetence of the Labor Party.

We have a massive investment in our defence industries. This is not only vital to secure our future in terms of our security, but it is vital to our economic future. This is nation-building in the truest sense of the word. This is ensuring that so far as possible, every dollar we spend on our Defence Forces is spent in Australia. Every technology, so far as we can, is developed in Australia. Every cutting-edge application, every breakthrough in defence science is done here and enriches the collective expertise and genius of the Australian people and the industries upon which it depends. That’s the future - that is what we are working to build.

And of course, we are committed to continuing to support higher standards, better outcomes in schools, education, reforming the welfare payment system so again we get better value so that Australians get greater support and greater support for returning to work, which as we know, is the best form of social welfare - a good solid job. That's what we are supporting, with strong economic growth.

Our plans for jobs and growth was the right one for Australia. It has been endorsed by the Australian people. We are back in Government, we are here to deliver on it. This is a critical Parliament. The 45th Parliament is a critical time in our nation's history and I'm honoured to lead you all in this great endeavour for our nation's future.

Thank you very much for your support.


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