I am more than happy to spend a Thursday afternoon standing up here talking about what this government has achieved over the last 10 months, because I have to tell you there has been a big change both in this place and outside of this place. Still, when I’m in my community and talking to people, it is absolutely the case that people walk up to me and say, ‘Look, I just want to say: you guys are doing a really good job,’ or, ‘I just want to say, it’s so impressive having the adults in charge again. I just want to say how refreshing that feels.’ So that’s what is happening in our community at the moment, and it’s happening because this government is getting on with the job of all the things that those opposite ignored, and not just ignored for 10 months; they ignored them for nearly 10 years!
There is no clearer example of this than those opposite’s drift and denial when it comes to climate change. Deputy Speaker, I cannot tell you how many times people in my community came up to me in despair under the previous government, in absolute despair about where this country was heading, in absolute despair about the future of their children, of this country and of our entire world, because what they could see was that nothing was happening—absolutely nothing under those opposite. Those opposite don’t even believe climate change is real. The member for New England has made that very, very clear. So, as a result of all of that, this government came in with a very big task, and we have been getting on with it.
In the last 10 months, our government has delivered this country’s first real climate change policy in a decade. That is a massive achievement. We know we haven’t got it all done yet. We know how much there is still to do, but we are on the right track. We are on the track that gives this country a future, which helps build the jobs and the industries of the future, which helps make sure that we are a clean, green energy superpower.
Over the past 10 years—10 months! Not 10 years. Over the past 10 months—
Payne: It feels like 10 years with all the things we’ve done.
THWAITES: As the member for Canberra says, it feels like 10 years because we’ve been so busy. We have been so busy over the last 10 months—
McCormack: Tell us how good you are!
THWAITES: That’s what I am here to do. You invited it this afternoon. I am absolutely here to tell you how good we are. That is exactly the topic you gave us; thank you. One of the other areas that our government has brought a real focus to over the last 10 months is transparency, accountability and honesty. Again, if I look at things people in my community were saying to me before the last election that they were so concerned about, they were about how this place operates. They were about whether they could trust the people in this place and those in charge. And what have we done since we were elected? We’ve delivered the National Anti-corruption Commission that those opposite could not deliver. They promised, but they did not deliver. We know that Australians want those in power in our country to be held to account. We know that they want those of us in here to behave to the highest possible standards, and that’s what we have been getting on with.
We’re making lives fairer and more equal for Australian women. We’ve put gender equality at the heart of our work, delivering cheaper child care, the biggest boost to paid parental leave since the scheme was introduced, a record investment to improve women’s safety, gender responsive budgeting and great work in women’s health—such important work.
I’m going to close on one of the most important things our government has been doing in the last 10 months, and that’s the work we are doing to advance an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to this place. Just today we have seen the Prime Minister unveil what the question will look like. This is such a massive opportunity for our country. I want to commend all the people who have done the work to get us to this point. I want to encourage all Australians to take up the opportunity that is now before us, to turn a new page in our country’s story, to walk forward together and to embrace what it means to have the oldest living continuing culture in our country. It is a huge, exciting opportunity. I’m so proud to be part of a government that is doing this together with our country for our country.