Federal Parliament - Matters of Public Importance [6 October 2020]

October 06, 2020

Dr ALYThere's a really great children's early reader book by New Zealand author Joy Cowley. It is called The Gonna Bird. I remember reading this to my kids when they were young. It is a story about a bird that puts off everything until tomorrow. This bird, the gonna bird, who goes around saying 'I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna,' actually refuses to do anything until he finds himself all by himself and with no friends. When I read my kids this book, I said to them, 'The lesson of the gonna bird is this: if you say you're gonna do something, you should do it.'

Well, Deputy Speaker, I introduce the 'gonna' government!

Every single time, this Prime Minister stands up in front of a camera, straightens his tie and announces, with great fanfare, that they have a plan to develop a plan, that they have a work group to develop a plan—a road map, a spreadsheet! But if you really listen to these big announcements there's no substance. There's nothing to them. They are just announcements. In all seriousness, that is not without consequence. That has consequences for Australians, who expect more. Australians expect that when their government announces something that is going to benefit them, something that will get them through a crisis—a job, an income or an opportunity—their government will follow through on that announcement. From the local level right through to the national level, this government has a litany of announcements that have not been followed up.

At a very local level, I'll start with Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren in my electorate. At the last election, they were promised that, if the coalition won, they would get $30,000 for advocacy. It's not a lot of money, not much at all, but to them it would mean everything. To them it would mean the world, because they have been going on all these years just through volunteers and with no money at all. But they never got that money. When the time came to deliver on the announcement, this government turned around and walked away, just like the Prime Minister does every time he stands up and makes an announcement in front of those cameras.

Also at the last election, we were promised by Minister Cash—again to much fanfare—that we would get a training hub in Wanneroo, in the heart of my electorate of Cowan. It was a very popular promise and a much needed promise, I must say, particularly for the young people who live in Wanneroo, who have poorer outcomes at school and who generally need to have options other than university. A training hub was going to deliver for them the kinds of opportunity that they needed to get ahead—to get a job, to get qualified and skilled. Guess what? I don't think I have to tell you the end of this story. This gonna government never delivered it. This gonna government never came good on its promise of building a training hub in Wanneroo. I have been forced to write to Minister Cash and ask, 'Where is the training hub we were promised?' Many parents had laid their hopes on that training centre being there when their children graduate from school.

We could go right through to the national level as well. JobKeeper: this government said it would support six million Australians. It's only really supported half of those. With the JobKeeper money that wasn't spent, you'd think they would do the right thing and plug all the holes, to provide for casuals, temporary visa holders and university staff who lost their jobs and were ineligible for JobKeeper, all of those people who have fallen through the net. But, no, they didn't do that.

Then there are the bushfires, which I know members after me will speak about. This gonna government has already wracked up a series of failed promises and empty announcements, and tonight we're going to get more gonna.