Senator Cory Bernardi MP: People, quite rightly, thought that with the election of the Abbott government things would change. For right or wrong, some mistakes were made there, but none more so than to convey the same sense of despondency to the Australian people and take out a first-term, duly elected Prime Minister. I said at the time it would have consequences and that the transaction costs would be greater than what was immediately apparent. I think that’s been born out.

There’s a crisis of confidence in politics in this country As I said, if it’s the behaviour of politicians by which we’re measuring it, I think there’s a reason for that. But if it’s about the Australian people, there’s an even greater reason why we should examine the collective behaviour of what’s going on in this place. However you want to measure it, we’re not delivering the results. I say that in a crossbench, partisan manner: we’re not delivering results for the Australian people.

In the last 10 years we have accumulated over $500 billion of debt. We continually promise there’s a surplus around the corner. It’s not eventuating, and no-one in this place who I have spoken to privately really believes that we’re going to deliver a surplus. They believe we are going to deliver on the $750-odd billion worth of debt by 2021, but no-one believes a surplus is going to be around the corner. And if it is, at the measly rate that they’re projecting it might only take 100 years to pay back the debt that we’ve accumulated in the last 10 years.

You can look at our educational standards. They’re pumping more and more money into education—we’ve had the debate in this place about that—and yet our kids are less literate and less numerate. The education system is failing them. What is the answer? To throw more money into it. In recent times we saw the government make an $18 billion injection into education, but they had no measurable outcomes to say, ‘What are we going to get for our money?’ That wasn’t good enough. Some of the populists on the crossbench, who always want to put their stamp of authority on government legislation—but never want to save money—insisted that another $5 billion go in, so it became a $23 billion education funding package that had no measurable outcomes. There was no pre-empted desire to improve literacy or numeracy: just allocate the money and we’ll work out what to do with it later. It’s absolutely wrong.

We can look at ministerial standards and how they have declined over the years. We know that no government is perfect, but we had the protection rackets for ministers: if ministers had done something wrong or they knew where the skeletons were buried, they remained in cabinet. We saw that with the Labor Party and former Minister Garrett. We have seen that with ministers from the other side, who were taking notes during the cabinet meetings and then releasing them as part of their books. Somehow, that was okay for cabinet solidarity. We have seen the brutal betrayal within the coalition of some long standing policies.

The Westminster system has fallen. The Australian people have less faith and confidence in the system. We know the intergenerational debt, which is the true moral challenge of our time, is growing exponentially, and there is no end in sight. I say to the Australian people: if you really want to have a look at how governments are impacting your life in a negative fashion, examine the electricity industry. It’s full of well-meaning green dreams—let’s subsidise this; let’s foster that; let’s blow this up. It has all resulted in the most expensive and unreliable electricity anywhere in the world in places like South Australia and Queensland. It’s a Third World electricity system in a First World country. That’s why we don’t have manufacturing here. We can’t afford to manufacture anything, because we need electricity to do it. That’s why you can’t get people to invest in states like South Australia—because they’ve got the green dream of a 50 per cent renewable energy target, supported by many in this place, that will cost us tens of billions of dollars over decades, and we’re not going to have reliable power.

Rather than admit that and say, ‘We got it wrong; let’s fix it by getting the government out of the system and providing some certainty to it,’ they’re doubling down by pledging $100 million for batteries here, there and elsewhere. And, if it wasn’t bad enough under the Labor administration in South Australia and the previous administration, where they fell in love with the green rhetoric from the United Nations, they’re doing it with this government too—throwing $30 million here and tens of billions of dollars’ worth of subsidies for stuff that doesn’t work. Why are the Australian people having to pay the price of experimental politics?

The last 10 years has seen this place diminish. I’ve been here for it. I’ve been tearing my hair out over it. Sometimes I may have played some role in it. We are mad if we think we can continue going down this path and not diminish this place further.

Article Source from Chamber Senate on Item ADJOURNMENT – Federal Government Speaker: Bernardi, Sen Cory/ Parliament of Australia Transcript used for Reporting News