Parliament House – Cuts to the ABC and SBS

There is an old 1957 movie called Witness for the Prosecution, where Charles Laughton plays a crusty old barrister called Sir Wilfrid, and in cross-examination he says to the witness, “Were you lying then, are you lying now, or are you just a chronic and habitual liar?”

Well, Madam Speaker that is what the Australian people are now asking about this Prime Minster. Put him on a lie detector and it would blow up, because he has broken so many promises.

He broke his promise that there would be no cuts to health. He said that there would be no cuts to education- broken. He said there would be no changes to the pension – broken as well. And he said there would be no cuts to the ABC, and no cuts to SBS. So many broken promises.

It is so bad that this is now an issue of trust and people are wondering if they really can trust this Prime Minister.

He has become the thing that he once so despised. Remember, this is the man who ran around the country for three years, screaming about broken promises, and said some things that deserve repeating.

He said things like this, “What I want to do is re-establish the bonds of trust that should exist between government and the people.”

So he says all of that and then he gets into government and breaks every promise he ever made. Hollywood could not make this sort of stuff up. It is like Jekyll and Hyde.

I sometimes think he must have Abbnesia, because by making all these promises and then breaking them. He has shredded his credibility.

People trusted this Prime Minister. They might have had their doubts, but they put their faith in him. They trusted him. I do not think they will again.

People do not like it when politicians lie to them, but there is something they hate even more than that. They hate it when people lie about lying—and that is what we have seen in the last few weeks.

Last week we had the Finance Minister, Senator Cormann say, “There are no cuts”. And then today, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Eric Abetz said, “nobody has lost their job”.

Well, hang on a second, last week they announced hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cuts to the ABC, and today we find out that up to 400 people are going to lose their jobs.

So what is the Liberal party’s new strategy here? Is it the Jedi Mind Trick? What is going on here?

Then you have Minister Turnbull or as I like to call him, the new Dennis Denuto of the Australian Parliament because his answer to this broken promise last week was, “It’s all the context. It’s all the context.”

It is getting ridiculous. It reminds me of that old Bill Clinton story about when he takes his old dog, Buddy, to the vet. He takes his dog to the vet to get desexed, and the vet says, “Don’t worry, I will fix him.” And Bill Clinton says, “That is not a fix; that is a cut.”

And we know that this is not a fix; this is a cut. And it is a broken promise. Made even more ridiculous by old ‘Pontius Pilate’ Pyne over there, who cannot fight for the ABC in the Cabinet Room—he has to put up a petition.

And then you have Barnaby barn storming around the country saying no cuts to the ABC in the bush and Malcolm Turnbull saying it will all be back-office, don’t worry about that.

Well, today we learned there will be cuts to five regional radio stations; we will lose the 7.30 Report state editions, Lateline will go to ABC News 24, foreign bureaus will be cut, less sport on the ABC, and 400 people will get the sack.

That is why people are angry.

They do not like being lied to and they do not like their government lying about lying.

That is why people right across this country are thinking the same thing that Charles Laughton said in that old movie, “Were you lying then, are you lying now, or are you just a chronic and habitual liar?”