Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Labor Party Policies

Solar Panels


Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring- gai ) ( 15:20 :56 ): This motion should be accorded priority because our community needs to understand the priorities of the Opposition when our State has the best economy, the strongest employment, the best business conditions and the strongest consumer sentiment in Australia. They need to know the priorities of the New South Wales Australian Labor Party [ALP] for our State when this Government is spending record amounts of money on hospitals, schools and infrastructure.

The Leader of the Opposition commenced his speech on the weekend by saying that the ALP is the representative of workers, but we all know it is not. The best thing that anyone can do for a worker is to give her or him a job, but Labor is unable to manage an economy that can do that. The Leader of the Opposition, in his speech at the weekend conference, detailed abuses of workers at 7-Eleven, Domino's Pizza and Pizza Hut, but he forgot to say that those abuses all happened under the Julia Gillard Labor designed and made Federal Fair Work industrial relations system.

Do those opposite think we cannot remember? Do they think they can win the next election with the same sort of "Mediscare" campaign that Labor ran at the last Federal election? It says a lot about modern politics that the leader of the Australian Labor Party in this House—the so-called workers' friend—grew up in Ku-ring-gai while the Liberal member for Ku-ring-gai grew up in working-class Newcastle. This group of out-of-touch ideologues have no idea about the working class.

According to a document that I have seen, one of the "top 10 burning issues" at last weekend's Australian Labor Party convention was to attack mobile drug testing by police. Those opposite also want to move Australia Day to a different date, but they cannot tell us which date it will be. Of the 52 motions on international affairs tabled on the weekend, 26 attacked Israel. Not satisfied with almost ruining this democracy, those opposite want to ruin democracies overseas as well. The person who advised the Australian Labor Party convention on electoral reform was Sam Dastyari, the former Australian Labor Party State Secretary who wrongly solicited and received a $200,000 donation from a Chinese tobacco company. That same man of dubious character promoted the Australian Labor Party's idea of policy substance by hosting a Dastyari session on social media memes. The Opposition leader's five proposals for industrial relations reform at last weekend's State conference were all unconstitutional. We need to hear why the Labor Party should never become the Government in this State.



Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 15:39 :10 ): I move:

That this House:

(1)Condemns Labor's weekend conference for outlining plans for more taxes, more bureaucracy and less infrastructure.

(2)Denounces the Leader of the Opposition's budget reply speech, which rehashed old announcements, copied government policies and cancelled critical infrastructure projects.

I am not going to repeat what I have already said about the Labor State conference, which was held at the weekend. In summary, it was full of attacks on police drug tests, on Israel and on Australia Day and advice from Senator Sam Dastyari on social media memes and electoral reform. The Leader of the Opposition's idea of assistance to workers at 7-Eleven, Domino's Pizza and Pizza Hut was to promote unconstitutional laws. The rousing conclusion to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition at the weekend was to invoke the words of former New South Wales Labor Premier Jack Lang. The people of New South Wales should be very concerned by this. Jack Lang is the only Premier of an Australian State to have been dismissed by a governor for unlawfully defaulting on government borrowings.

If ever this Labor Opposition were in government, it would not only expose our State to sovereign risk but also destroy our economy. The Leader of the Opposition seems to have the same disregard for the law as does the Construction, Forestry, Manufacturing and Energy Union [CFMEU]. Be under no illusion: under a State Labor government, we would be governed by and for the CFMEU. First, the Leader of the Opposition's speech at the weekend attacked the Government's infrastructure program, making it clear that government infrastructure would again suffer if this Opposition were in government. Secondly, the Opposition wants to impose more regulation and bureaucracy on the people of New South Wales. Thirdly, though the Opposition talks a big game on education, the speech of the Leader of the Opposition had no funding detail and, like his budget reply speech, it plagiarised words from the press releases of the Minister for Education, Rob Stokes, that Labor would have an "unprecedented schools building program".

In this year's budget alone the Government committed to the construction of more new schools and more school upgrades than Labor did in its last 11 years of office combined. In his speech at the weekend, the Leader of the Opposition repeated the folly of his budget reply speech by promising to require 15 per cent of the jobs on government construction projects to be for apprentices, trainees, Indigenous Australians and the long-term unemployed. This was a cut and paste from the member for Blacktown's speech at the Labor 2014 State conference. Not only that, it actually ignored the fact that in September 2016 the Coalition Government announced not a 15 per cent requirement on government construction projects but a 20 per cent target.

In his budget reply speech, the Leader of the Opposition committed to nominating the Royal National Park for World Heritage listing. But the Government had already made a nomination and had issued a press release in September 2013—which, clearly, the Leader of the Opposition had not read, and clearly had not done his homework. The Leader of the Opposition also committed to rolling out solar panels on government buildings. But that is a copy of the existing New South Wales government program, which was announced during the 2015 election. Two weeks prior to the budget reply speech, the tender for the rollout was listed on the New South Wales Government eTendering website. This again shows an opposition that does not do its homework and announces policies that are already the policies of this Government.

The Leader of the Opposition, in his budget reply speech, made a commitment to give every child access to at least 15 hours per week of affordable preschool education in the year before they start school. But the Government had already committed to ensuring all New South Wales children have access to 15 hours a week of preschool before they start school through the $217 million Start Strong program. Given this more than abundant evidence, the Leader of the Opposition should be denounced for his failed budget reply speech and the Labor State conference held at the weekend should be condemned.


Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 15:56 :05 ): In reply: There was a great contrast between the bedtime story we heard from the member for Tamworth and the passion of the members for Keira and Wollongong. The problem is that the members for Keira and Wollongong were asleep. They could not justify giving false hope to workers by promoting unconstitutional laws. There is great disingenuousness in what they said, because the rip-off of workers is happening under a law put in place by a Federal Labor Government. Labor went to the 2007 Federal election saying, "We're going to repeal WorkChoices; we're going to clean up the industrial relations system." What happened? It is significant that the rip-offs of these workers were exposed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation—not by the Labor Party or the unions. These great champions of the workers were once again asleep at the wheel. They did not care to protect these workers, because they were foreign workers who were not in a union.

Those opposite care only about workers who are in their little club, their unions, and the only foreigners they like are the ones who give donations, especially if they are from tobacco companies. Today's speeches by the Prince of Potts Point, the member for Keira, and the member for Wollongong, who still has his training wheels on, were very disappointing. Neither of them could defend the attacks on the police drugs test or the attacks on Israel; nor were they prepared to defend Senator Sam Dastyari giving advice on electoral matters and social media. They were unable to defend those matters, because they are indefensible. They did not talk about shifting Australia Day. Those opposite know that the Labor Party is lurching from extreme to extreme. The Labor Party is so on the fringe that it has even added a fringe program to its fringe conference. It is very interesting that the fringe party now has a fringe wing—fringe squared or double fringe.