Monday, June 11, 2018

A gold bit from Oz politics

Hansard, Thursday, 2 February 1995, from the end of a response to a motion of censure by the Prime Minister the hon. Paul Keating. 

... When we hear from John Howard, the very much recycled Leader of the Opposition, it is a case of back to the future. Years ago I did a little ditty in here about a family walking through a museum. They are looking around and the kid says, `Mum, what's that?' She says, `Well, son, that is the Morphy Richards toaster. We used to have one. We used to put the bread in that. You had to wind it down and turn it on.' The kid says, `What's this?' She says, `That is the Qualcast mower. We had one of those at home'. He says, `Who is this?' She says, `That's John Howard. He was the Treasurer who put Australia into moribund low growth back in the 1970s and the 1980s.' The boy says, `But what is he, Mum?' She says, `He is the future, son'.

Don't make us laugh over there. John Howard believes in the glib phrase. Somebody said the other day, `He just keeps on talking. He will do as many radio interviews as possible. He will keep running the line through.' But that will not change the central fact because, as I said at question time, when people go through the polls and they understand the code, the code is the one thing that he shies away from like Dracula from a wooden stake, and that is J-O-B-S—the one thing you have never been able to produce.

Do you know what John Howard's average was in jobs? It was 52,000 a year. In the years of his treasurership it was a pathetic 52,000 a year. Do you know what this government's average was right through the 12 years? One hundred and fifty four thousand a year—three times as great.

Let me tell you another thing about employment. Let me give you another reasonably impressive statistic. Do you know what the change is in real household disposable income? You know what that means. Do you know what the change in real household disposable income is since you? It is 40 per cent. The nation's household disposable income has come up by 40 per cent; that is the change since you.

Yet you say, in your tawdry opportunist way, that we have skittled families and small business. Yes, you believe in families. You arrogantly believe that you can speak for families, as if there is something you know about families that the rest of us do not.

You say you believe in families. Yet you do not believe in family support. You do not believe in payments to low paid families. You do not believe in a family allowance supplement or additional family payment. You do not believe in Medicare. You have been trying to give a kick-up to doctors for the last 20 years of your life. Let us not burden you with families because families are affected by those people coming back into jobs through the white paper. They are the ones for whom you think it is a spending spree, those very same families.

He talks about interest rates and small business. Small business died when he was in office. He left an industrial graveyard—industrial archaeology—in his wake. It was basically the old anvil industries of the pre-war years. They were watching them close in Alexandria and in all the industrial areas across Australia. When he walked out of office he walked out with his head down.

Let the people of Australia understand: this is the same guy, with no new ideas, only the same simple ideas. They are basically about cutting income for people on low and middle incomes, keeping income up to the rich, not understanding Australia's place in the world, not understanding Australia's psychology or its identity, of having loyalty to other countries and other forums and other norms, and being out of touch with the modern Australia. John Howard would be a disaster for this country, a poor choice for the Liberal Party and an absolutely disastrous choice for Australia.

I know Keating lost in ’96 to Howard but I’d argue he was right because of what happened to government next.

But this is top notch stuff. I wish I could craft words like that; just friggin’ glorious. He went in with the bit about the toaster ready but the rest is just on his feet spittin' stats with scatman fury. 

Oz politics at its best.

(Fist raised for Comrade Paul

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