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Matters of Public Importance: Prime Minister’s leadership
I suppose we got what we deserved with such a tawdry, hopeless MPI today. This has been one of the less inspiring debates, I must say, particularly from those opposite. Let’s just try and look at some facts. When we look at the success or otherwise of a government, we by definition on this side of the House have a different set of criteria. I remember very vividly during the Gillard years that their measure of success was how many pieces of legislation they rammed through this parliament. I quite often remember Gillard or Rudd or a minister at the time talking about X hundred pieces of legislation or regulation that they had passed through here. That is not our definition of success on this side of the House.
When I look at the success of a government, I look at the scoreboard. A number of members on this side of the House have spoken about the scoreboard, and one of the most important scores is our GDP figures. We are growing at 3.3 per cent per annum. I know members opposite take that for granted, but we are the fastest growing economy in the G7 and that is what is going to underpin our prosperity into the future. It will assist in addressing the most significant issue of our time, which unfortunately does not appear to be in the speaking notes of those opposite, and that is repairing the budget. All we hear from those opposite and from the Leader of the Opposition and his shadow frontbench is talk about a constituency or a group that they want to spend more money on. The reality is that this government is focused on ensuring that we get our fiscal house in order. Until the Labor Party accept that that is one of the existential challenges not only for this side of parliament but also for our entire parliament, they will be languishing in opposition, because the Australian people instinctively understand that a government is no different to their families and no different to a small business.
We must start living within our means. When all I hear from those opposite is ‘Liberal cuts’ and ‘Liberals reducing spending’, it is a mark of success, because until government starts living within its own means all we are doing is burdening the next generation with higher taxes. Every dollar we borrow now is a tax that our children and our grandchildren will have to pay into the future. When we are looking at the markers of success, that figure alone indicates that this government is showing leadership and stewardship of the economy. But we do not take credit for it. The Labour Party take credit for successes in the economy. We take some credit, but we ultimately accept that it is hardworking private individuals who must take credit for those things. That is why we want to empower them. We want to ensure that they can harness their creative talents to improve the economy.
The second marker of success that those opposite do not talk about, and that we seldom get questions about in question time, is national security. The fact that we are very blessed in this country to have a security environment that, in my view, many jurisdictions around the world would wish for is a credit to the government, but I will also say that it is a credit to this entire parliament. I give credit particularly to the Leader of the Opposition for ensuring that our agenda to strengthen our national security has not been scuppered by the hard left of the Labor Party, whose views on national security we know about instinctively.
Click here to access a PDF copy of the Hansard transcript of this speech.