Senator DAVID SMITH (Australian Capital Territory) (15:22): I also rise to take note of the answers from
the Minister representing the Prime Minister to questions on the Victorian election results. From the answers
provided by the minister earlier today, you would believe that the election result in Victoria was a fair dinkum,
dinky-di, anomaly and that the sole influences on the results were local; that somehow the Victorian people
were out of touch with the rest of Australia, and everything is actually quite ridgy-didge. Even Senator Hume's speaking notes seem to have changed in the last few days.
Now, full credit, of course, must go to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his team. Premier Andrews ran
a strong campaign, backing up a strong record in government, and has been rightly rewarded with a second
term. The voters in Victoria, like voters everywhere else, know when they've got a good government and can
see through the rhetoric and bluster coming from the other side, and vote accordingly. But to pretend, as some federal Liberals have been doing, that this result has no federal implications suggests that those opposite have learnt nothing.
This result was a massive repudiation of today's Liberal Party—of politics that seeks to divide Australians with
fear campaigns rather than focusing on the needs of the community. This wasn't the first time that voters have sent this message. We saw it in the repudiation of the Liberals in the Super Saturday by-elections. We saw it in the New South Wales Wagga Wagga by-election. We saw it in Wentworth just a few weeks ago after the Liberals had knifed Malcolm Turnbull. The voters don't want cuts, chaos and division; they want better schools, better hospitals and investment in renewables—all issues on which the contrast between the Morrison government and the Labor Party is, at all levels, there for all to see.
It is possible that the result on the weekend was a consequence of a sustained, deliberate campaign, as reported in The Shovel. I can't be certain that this is accurate, but The Shovel reported:
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Labor is to blame for the Coalition’s abysmal showing in the 2018 Victorian
State Elections, warning voters that Labor may also influence the outcome of the upcoming federal poll.
According to The Shovel:
Mr Morrison said it was clear who was responsible for recent events. "What you've seen over the weekend –
this truly terrible result – is the result of a sustained campaign by the Labor Party. Voters shouldn't forget that,"
"If you've woken up this morning to find your local Liberal member out of a job – that's Labor's fault. If you're
wondering why Matthew Guy will soon be stepping down as leader, you'll find the seeds of his undoing in Labor".
"This has been a sustained, deliberate campaign to defeat us. I think that's pretty clear".
The reality is that it was actually the result of a federal government that's as out of touch as the Victorian state opposition is. But it is clear that at a federal level we also need change and that there's a clear difference between what is being offered by the current federal government and what Labor will offer in government.
Unlike the Morrison government, Labor under Bill Shorten's leadership has policies focused on improving our
schools and our education system. Labor will deliver an extra $14 billion for public schools over the next
decade—the biggest investment in public schools in Australian history. Unlike the Liberals, Labor under Bill
Shorten's leadership has policies focused on improving our hospitals and healthcare system. We will invest in
every single public hospital across the country. Unlike the Liberals, Labor under Bill Shorten's leadership has
policies focused on renewables and addressing climate change. Labor is committed to ending national energy
policy uncertainty and achieving 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Labor will supercharge the Clean Energy Finance Corporation by providing an additional $10 billion over five years from 2019-20, doubling its original capital investment. Labor will slash power bills, improve grid security and support new jobs in local industries by setting a new national target of one million household battery installations by 2025. Unlike the Liberals under the Morrison government, Labor under Bill Shorten's leadership is looking forward to fighting the next election on policies that address the needs of the Australian community. That's the lesson from the election on the weekend, and that's a lesson that those opposite are still not ready to hear.