Prime Minister Julia Gillard has led the worst government in the history of Australia, says federal deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop. Ms Bishop lambasted Ms Gillard for dismantling Howard-era asylum seeker policies and enforcing policies that have increased pull factors for refugees.
Proposed laws allowing offshore processing in Malaysia would have stripped human rights protections for asylum seekers and gave a glimpse of the “heart of darkness” at the centre of the government, Ms Bishop said.
“She’s forced many right-thinking Labor members into a position that they implacably oppose and that will have its consequences,” she told the federal Liberal Party council in Melbourne on Saturday.
“Julia Gillard demonstrates she has no principle she will not discard to cling to power. It must be a relief for Gough Whitlam to know he will never again be accused of leading the worst government in history.”
The carbon and mining taxes had dissuaded investment and associated Australia with risk, Ms Bishop said. In an effort to prove Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s women-friendly credentials, Ms Bishop said she “loved” working with Mr Abbott, who was committed to a paid parental leave scheme that would allow women to achieve their dreams.
Federal treasury spokesman Joe Hockey likened winning back government to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. “Keep going and look at the summit,” Mr Hockey said.
Mr Hockey said Ms Gillard was devoid of principles and had confused Australians with multiple taxes and positions on the asylum seeker issue. “Labor is merely an eclipse,” Mr Hockey told the council.
“The Rudd-Gillard government covered the sun for a short period. We are going to bring the sun back.” He said a coalition government would be committed to rebalancing the budget, reducing taxes, engaging with Asia and growing the economy.