Senator Matthew Canavan.CRITICISM of the Coalition’s recent leadership dispute has earned a stinging rebuke of the former Labor government’s command from Queensland LNP Senator Matt Canavan.
Nanjing Night Net

Last week the Senate argued a matter of public importance about the alleged impacts on business and consumer confidence of the Abbott government’s “chaos, dysfunction and division”.

Labor Tasmanian Senator Catryna Bilyk led the charge, saying the government’s leadership woes had “destroyed business and consumer confidence in Australia”.

“This confusion grips the government on so many fronts that it is hard for business to be able to grow and to have any faith in them,” she said.

“This shambolic, dysfunctional government has lurched from policy crisis to policy crisis, giving no-one confidence it knows what it is doing.

“So much for Australia being ‘open for business’ under this government.”

But Senator Canavan said economic statistics showed the economy was “actually quite strong” but he did concede “there are certainly challenges”.

“We have gone through a terms of trade boom not seen since the 1850s, and that is slowing down, so there are clearly going to be challenges,” he said.

“But, all things considered, the economy is doing quite well.”

ALP ‘good at’ chaosSenator Canavan said if any party was responsible for “chaos, dysfunction and division … it would be the Labor Party”.

“They are pretty good at it,” he said.

“The last time they were in power and on this side, their mistakes were not as inconsequential as just a matter of public importance; their whole government was a running saga of chaos, dysfunction and division.”

Senator Canavan highlighted Labor’s response to the ABC Four Corners program in May 2011 on the live export trade, which resulted in a temporary suspension of cattle exports to Indonesia a week later.

“There was some very horrific footage and there certainly needed to be a policy response,” he said.

“Indeed, the first instinct of the then Agriculture Minister was right: he shut down the abattoirs.

“But that was not good enough for the Labor Party.

“They wanted to do more and, because of a TV program, they shut down our exports of food to our closest neighbour – more than 250 million people – overnight, without even the courtesy of a phone call.

“The Indonesians found out about it through the news,” he said.

“It was an absolute disgrace.”

Coalition’s ‘tough couple of weeks’On the Coalition’s leadership troubles, Senator Canavan said the Liberal Party have had “a tough couple of weeks”.

“I have publicly said that I hope they do not change aeroplanes mid-air, because I do not think it is a good idea,” he said.

“The example of the Labor Party is pretty clear.

“Once you go down that bloody path, it is pretty hard to come back from it.

“It has been a tough couple of weeks, but there is a difference between that side and this side.

“That side did it twice,” he said.

“That side unleashed the faceless men and executed two prime ministers in the space of three years; we did not.

“That side wasted billions of dollars and racked up $300 billion of debt; we did not.

“That side shut down an industry based on a TV program; we did not.”

Senator Canavan referred to Labor’s 2020 Summit which proposed a tax review that was conducted and resulted in the mining tax.

He said it was the first tax “I know of in history that actually cost the government money”.

“They wanted $50 billion from the tax and it raised $300 million in net terms.

“It was going to raise $50 billion and they locked in $17 billion of spending.”

Critiquing CanavanIn return, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari critiqued Senator Canavan’s speech.

“Let’s be clear, when we are talking about confidence, there is one group that has no confidence in this government and that is the government itself,” he said.

“In the same week that 60 per cent of their own backbench tried to neck the Prime Minister, you have got senators getting up in this chamber talking about what a wonderful job this government is doing, how fantastic business confidence is and simply wondering why they are not being thanked for what has been failure after failure, lie after lie.

“Of course there are economic challenges facing this country.

“Of course there are spending, fiscal and other challenges facing this country.

“But rather than have an honest debate, you have fearmongering.”

Swipe at State LibsAlso in the Senate last week, former federal Agriculture Minister and Labor Queensland Senator Joe Ludwig used the Queensland State election result to take a swipe at the new Queensland opposition.

Senator Ludwig said on Saturday, 31 January, Queensland voters sent the local LNP a clear message that, “Queenslanders were tired of cuts and tired of broken promises”.

“It is a message that Prime Minister Abbott and his colleagues, I think, have heard but perhaps they have not heard loud enough,” he said.

Senator Ludwig – who was Minister when the Indonesian live cattle ban was invoked – said Labor also, “had a plan for rural Queensland” which contributed to the recent upset election result.

“The LNP in Queensland had failed to move with the times with agriculture,” he said.

“They failed to realise that it is an industry that is more than just crops and livestock.

“They ignored the importance of the supply chain, innovation and enabling farmers to get the best possible price for their produce.”

Senator Ludwig said Labor’s plan, “continues to recognise these challenges and will move to strengthen Queensland’s rural communities”.

“That plan includes: moving to establish a Rural Job Agency pilot program, which will help those in rural communities who are struggling to find different ways to upskill; undertaking a major review of the State’s agriculture research and development to ensure that the best science is applied; strengthening trade missions, bringing overseas markets closer to Queensland produce through those linkages; and also, importantly, review Queensland’s biosecurity capability to ensure the long-term viability of Queensland’s high-quality agricultural produce,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.