Thursday, 15 May 2008
Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders
This motion for the suspension of standing orders is not about binge drinking; it is about binge taxing. That is what the Labor Party are delivering to this parliament. The Prime Minister has confirmed today that Labor are going to continue with their attempts to introduce higher taxes on the transport industry, guaranteeing, as the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government said, that food prices will go up $17. We need to know what the response of the government is to those issues before we go home. Isn’t a $17 increase in grocery prices sufficiently important for this House to take time to consider the impacts of this budget? You do not just have to take my word for the fact that this is a budget that is going to hurt pensioners. If the Government Whip does not think this is important, maybe he might like to talk to Mrs Hogan, the secretary of the Acacia Ridge Pensioners League, hardly a hotbed of coalition support. She said that her generation felt humiliated and the budget had just made the wound worse. She said:
A great number of people have been really let down because they thought a Labor government was going to be more caring.
She went on to say:
There was ... nothing in there for pensioners and it really is a struggle.
That is the kind of Labor Party we have. This is also a budget of broken promises. They said the family tax benefit would have a threshold of $250,000; now it is $150,000. They said they would not touch the Medicare levy surcharge. They said they would provide rebates for solar water installations and now they are means tested. They said they would build 260 childcare centres but they are funding only 38. They said there would be Medicare centres in military bases and they are not there. This is a budget of broken promises, letting the poor down, letting the Australian people down and letting 140,000 people who are going to lose their jobs down. And if you happen to live over the hill, outside of the gaze of the minister’s office in central Sydney, you will be let down especially, because there is a billion dollars worth of cuts in this budget for people living in regional Australia. (Time expired)