House debates

Monday, 17 September 2018

Private Members' Business

Income Tax

12:49 pm

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Oxley, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I am a little surprised today that we're debating this motion about the government's Personal Income Tax Plan, as the government want yet again a pat on their back for their so-called strong economic leadership of our country, but, when I look at the speakers list, the government can only provide one speaker to back in their so-called economic policy leadership! We know in this country that there is and has been no economic leadership under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government. We know that they have no energy policy. We saw the Minister for the Environment this morning explaining that the only policy they have is to recycle the Direct Action policy, pioneered by the Prime Minister before the last Prime Minister. We know they have no tax policy. We know that Senator Cormann was forced to junk their plans for corporate tax at the last time we met, and they have no plan at all to deal with the flatlining of wages. In fact, the only plan that we know of is to resume their systemic attacks on working people and their organisations.

Quite frankly, they are a government that have given up on government. They might come, fly into Canberra, take some pot shots at one another, work out whether they're bullies or not bullies or whether they have a gender problem or not a gender problem, leak WhatsApp conversations against each other on the front page of the paper, talk about each other or brief against each other to journalists, but they don't actually outline how or why they should be governing.

I am interested in the discussion today because the one poor government member who was forced in to somehow defend the government's economic agenda refused to talk about 'once upon a time', which we heard about in lecture after lecture about the debt and deficit emergency. We saw just last week during the chaos, the division and the nightmare that is the Morrison government—or the muppet show, as the Prime Minister likes to describe the government—that gross debt now sits at $534.9 billion. I want to place on record today that that's almost double the $280 billion it was when the Liberals came to office in 2013. So, despite all the talk and all of their lectures about 'debt and deficit disaster', you won't hear a peep from the Liberals—

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 12:52 to 13:04

As I was saying, you never hear members of the government talk about the so-called debt and deficit disaster. In the last two years of the five years that this government has been in power, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison era, that debt has now crashed through half a trillion dollars. That's the largest amount of debt that we've ever seen in our nation's history. Net debt has doubled, and both kinds of debt are growing faster under the Liberals than under the previous Labor government, which had a global financial crisis to contend with.

When it comes to fairness, we know that there is no fairness no matter who leads a Liberal government. When someone in my electorate on $40,000 a year will get a tax cut of $455, while someone on $200,000 a year will get a tax cut of $7,255, how on earth could any person claim that that is fair? But that's exactly what the government believe, in their alternative universe.

So my message to the government today is clear: stop wearing and worrying about lapel badges, stop putting out offensive tweets that are demeaning to a whole range of Australians, stop leaking against each other and start governing for this country. Out in real Australia, out in the suburbs, out in the communities that I represent, the government of Australia are seen as a joke. When you see a Prime Minister whose priority is having people wear a lapel pin and who says, 'The reason I wear it is because it reminds me every single day whose side I'm on,' doesn't that tell you all about the government—worried about themselves, not worried about what Australia needs and what matters?

Debate adjourned.

Comments

Tibor Majlath
Posted on 18 Sep 2018 5:17 pm (Report this comment)

The member muses on the vexing question of fairness by stating that "When it comes to fairness, we know that there is no fairness no matter who leads a Liberal government. When someone in my electorate on $40,000 a year will get a tax cut of $455, while someone on $200,000 a year will get a tax cut of $7,255, how on earth could any person claim that that is fair? But that's exactly what the government believe, in their alternative universe."

How is Labor's policy on dividend imputation any fairer? Labor has had to modify its policy to exempt those receiving government pensions. This showed how rushed the policy was from the start. The policy still doesn't discriminate between 'rich' retirees and say a retiree on $20,000 income per year from super with $2600 dividend imputation who will be forced to pay that $2600 in tax under a Labor government.

Labor's claims on fairness smacks of sheer hypocrisy.

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