Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Matters of Public Importance
Health and Education Funding
This government is not cutting funding for health and education. The amount of money that we spend on health and education will continue to rise. Every year the amount spent will rise. So what is this motion really about? It is about pretence and deception on the part of the Labor opposition. We heard the previous speaker talk about TV shows. This whole motion reminds me of a show some years ago. A fictional government in the program The Hollowmen was looking for a centrepiece budget announcement. The 'hollowmen', a bit like the member for Lilley, came up with a future fund, literally—the amount determined by 'what gets a whistle'. The money would have to be found by some future government somehow. Doesn't that ring a bell with us? It let the incumbent government make an announcement that sounded like something but actually was nothing. That is what we got from Labor: sounds like something but actually is nothing. As the 'hollowmen' said: 'Have we got $100 billion?' 'We don't need it. We can just take 10 years of future estimates and roll it out in the one announcement.' We don't have the money; we just want to make an announcement. It sounds like Labor Party strategists at work in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government.
In the days of the previous Labor government, as the ALP floundered in the mire of its own incompetence, it needed an announcement to distract an increasingly angry electorate sick of Labor's broken promises. You can picture the then PM's office, complete with the 'hollowmen'. It would be like a script that even the ABC could be proud of. The member for Lilley would be saying: 'We need a distraction. Let's announce a big pot of money—say $80 billion for schools and hospitals.' 'Have we got $80 billion?' 'We don't need it. We just take 10 years of forward estimates and roll it out in one announcement. We won't be in government when someone—anyone—has to find the money or scrap the plan.' This Labor script is really no different from the first Hollowmen. It reminds us of that other interesting ABC production The Killing Season. It shows an incompetent government misleading the people of Australia. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government, The Hollowmen, The Killing Seasonthree jokes but only one is a genuine comedy. The other two are tragedies played out before the people of Australia.
This motion is an absolute embarrassment to the Leader of the Opposition and any members who were in the cabinet that so hoodwinked the Australian community. There are no cuts, because there never was any money. I found it very interesting listening to the member for Lilley pontificating here. This is the same person who threw taxpayers' dollars like confetti around this House and drove Australia to levels of debt and deficit the highest in this nation's history. He never delivered a surplus—and he actually seeks to lecture us in this place. Labor is still in Hollowmen mode, committing to, I think, $57.1 billion worth of expenditure through opposing budget savings. There was the $18 billion in foreign aid—remember that? We heard $6.6 billion announced minute by minute by the Leader of the Opposition in the budget-in-reply speech. Today we are hearing even more about another $80 billion of those claimed, mythical cuts—the Hollowmen mythical cuts—to schools and hospitals. If I add those two together, Labor's black hole now sits at around $137.1 billion and counting. Treasurer—is that what you can see in this space—$137.1 billion and counting? This will continue. I am sure we are going to hear more of this.
I am sure we all remember Barry Haase in this place. I remember a conversation he had with a Labor MP—I think it might have been the member for Deakin—at the airport when Labor increased the debt ceiling to $200 billion. Barry saw him at the airport and said, 'Mate—don't you realise that $200 billion is a lot of money? Aren't you worried about paying it off?' And the member for Deakin slapped him on his back and said, 'Hey, Barry, mate, we're not worry about it because we know it won't be us who has to pay it off! It will be you!'
That typifies exactly what we are seeing in this motion today. It is always going to be someone else's problem. It is okay for Labor to waltz in here for six years, throwing money around like confetti on whatever the latest you-beaut Labor scheme was. They had some wonderful surpluses delivered by the previous government and they had savings as well. And yet what did they leave? They left a mess, a mire and a disgrace for the Australian people.