Monday, 10 September 2018
because the policies of this government, the policies of the former Treasurer—now the Prime Minister—and the former Prime Minister have been driving economic growth in this country, creating growth, creating jobs. This government has got the runs on the board. This government has reduced personal income tax in Australia. For average families struggling to make ends meet we are reducing income tax. We are reducing company tax for small businesses. We are driving small and medium enterprises in this country to re-invest in their own businesses, to create the jobs that are driving the economy. We have record levels of infrastructure spending right across the nation, in roads, in bridges, in new airports, in defence industry infrastructure, in bases—$75 billion worth of infrastructure spending according to the new minister, and he is going to get the opportunity to expand on that and outline that infrastructure spend. That's helping to create jobs and growth in the Australian economy, unlike the Rip Van Winkle years of the Labor Party from 2007 to 2013.
We are getting electricity prices down. They've already started coming down in certain markets around Australia, including in South Australia and Queensland. We are going to be focusing like a laser beam on electricity prices. The new minister, the member for Hume, is focused on one thing and one thing only: bringing down electricity prices. We are going to make the states focus on the reliability of energy supply in this country.
On national security, the member for Dickson, the Minister for Home Affairs, is continuing to support our border security. He will answer questions about that later today, about how we've dealt with the latest boat arrival. For five years we have stopped the boats in this country. We have completely reversed the record under the Labor Party, when there were 50,000 arrivals on over 800 boats. There were thousands of children in detention. When we came into power we had to get children out of detention. When the Howard government lost power, I think there were six or even five children in detention. We have stopped the boats, we have defended our borders and we are investing in national security. We have a $200 billion investment in our defence capability, the largest build-up of our military capability in our peacetime history. After the years of Labor, when spending on defence was reduced to 1.56 per cent of GDP, the lowest level since 1938, the lowest level since the last year of appeasement, under Labor, we are repairing the damage. We are repairing the damage that was done by the Labor Party in defence.
We are balancing the budget. We have a path back to surplus. A strong economy and a strong budget means we can invest in the things that Australians regard as important, like the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, like listing new drugs on the PBS that couldn't be done under Labor because there wasn't the money.
Here we are debating a Labor motion to suspend standing orders to demand that we have more chaos to try to break the furniture, to rip up the place like a CFMMEU annual general meeting. We're not having anything to do with it. We are going to keep getting on with the job. We are going to focus on the things that people regard as important: reducing taxation, supporting families, raising wages, balancing the budget, investing in infrastructure, national security, protecting our borders and the essential services that people like the farmers right now need all around Australia because of the drought. Our response to the drought is about using the funds that we've managed to salt away as a government by having a balanced budget process to support the essential services Australians need.