Questions Without Notice - Liberal Party Spill Motion

Senator Seselja:  (Australian Capital Territory) (15:19): I am going to respond particularly to Senator O'Neill's contribution.

Senator Conroy: Deny you were the informal vote.

Senator Seselja: I do deny it 100 per cent.

Senator Bilyk: Did you vote yes?

Senator Seselja: No, I voted no and I made it clear before and after.

One of the reasons I do so is because, whilst there is no doubt that we as a government and the Prime Minister have acknowledged that we could have done better, I would like to outline for the Senate in the time I have available the significant achievements that this government has already made in its first 17 months in office. These are undeniable achievements. These are significant achievements. These are achievements that we now need to build on. We should not forget what we have done, the mess we have inherited and the efforts we have made to fix that mess over the last 17 months.

If there had not been a change of government, we would still have the carbon tax. Australians would still be forced to pay an extra $550 a year because the Labor Party decided that was a reasonable imposition. It is interesting in the context of debates about a co-payment that the Labor Party, who are opposed to any form of price signal, say they are happy for households, no matter how much money they might have, to have to pay an extra $550 a year as a result of their carbon tax. So we got rid of that, not just taking pressure of households but helpfully creating jobs, taking pressure off business, lowering the cost of doing business in this country so that we can grow jobs. That is the sort of thing we have seen.

We got rid of the mining tax for one of our key industries. Again it is about economic growth, it is about investor certainty and it is about jobs. It is, importantly, about jobs. The mining tax was another attack upon a key industry in this nation. The Labor Party and the Greens came up with this scheme, and we have managed to get rid of it.

What else have we seen? We have stopped the drownings at sea—a significant achievement—

Senator Ludlam: You've stopped the solar industry. Well done!

Senator Seselja: Senator Ludlam says, 'Well done,' and we do not ever hear that when we look at stopping the drownings at sea. When it came to Greens and Labor policy, there did not seem to be any angst about the fact that their policies were leading to people getting on leaky boats and drowning on the way here. That was the result of their policies. So that is another change we have seen, and this is one that we were told could simply not be done. We were told by those opposite—by the Labor Party—by the Greens and by other commentators that you could not stop them, because Labor had not managed to for the past few years, and we had seen the tragic consequences. Well, as outlined by Senator Cash today, with resolve and with the right policy mix, you actually can. If we are going to have the usual critics of the government then we should look at those significant achievements. We have seen the abolishment of the carbon tax, reducing the cost of living; getting rid of the mining tax, protecting our key industries; stopping the drownings at sea and securing our borders; and free trade agreements across the board with China, with Japan and with Korea. This is all about growing the economy and all about opening up economic opportunities for Australians and Australian businesses so they can create the jobs of the future, so that our service industries can go into these markets in Asia. What did the Labor Party do on free trade agreements? Well, they procrastinated. They could not get them done. They were not actually committed to them.

Opposition senators interjecting

Senator Seselja: I hear the interjections about Tasmania. The free trade agreements will be wonderful for Tasmania. Tasmania has suffered under the weight of a Labor-Greens government in Canberra and a Labor-Greens government in Tasmania. We have Will Hodgman and his team turning things around; we have things like a free trade agreement and getting rid of the carbon tax, which will also help turns things around, not just in Tasmania but also around the country; we are building roads of the 21st century and have hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental approvals, which, again, is all about growing jobs for the future and growing our economy. So whilst there is much more that can be done and we can do things better, they are significant achievements that should not be forgotten. (Time expired)