House debates

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Matters of Public Importance


3:39 pm

Photo of Steve IronsSteve Irons (Swan, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, well done! Labor wants higher income tax. Once our full plan comes to effect, 94 per cent of taxpayers will pay no more than 30c in the dollar. Income taxes under Labor would be higher. Labor has said it would cut our legislated tax relief in half, increasing income taxes by $70 million. Further, in the 2018-19 budget, we have announced $158 million of additional personal income tax relief. Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating has described the Shorten tax hike as 'too punitive a level where the state is confiscating almost half of people’s income over $180,000'.

Our plan is to continue backing small businesses every step of the way, as they are the engine room of our economy. I know this as I was a small-businessman for 25 years. Without small business, there would be no Australia for any government to have a plan. Those opposite don't have a plan for Australian businesses. They instead want the CFMEU and their union mates to come in and take control. They even oppose the fast rail link to Geelong. They demonise business owners at every step. They think of them as being big, fat, greedy cats when, at the end of the day, what almost all of them do is risk their own assets and their own family lives and always they paid at the end. As someone who's spent 25 years in business, I understand that, and many of my colleagues on my side of the chamber have been through those experiences as well.

I was also told that we should always leave things better than how we found them. This is an important value for not only me but all Australians. How can we ensure that Australia continues to be the great country it is? We do that by fixing the budget, because fiscal responsibility means we can ensure that we can provide funding for all essential services without putting at risk services and without future generations having to pay back debt. Those opposite have no plan for fiscal responsibility. At every election, they go, 'You can trust us on the budget,' like the Leader of the Opposition's on-again, off-again friend Kevin Rudd—who described himself as a fiscal conservative—did before the 2007 election.

The fact is that, after six years of chaos, Labor left Australia with a broken budget, a damaged economy and a serious mess to fix. The key facts are that, between 2008-09 and 2012-13, Labor delivered deficits totalling $191 billion. Labor left additional projected deficits of $123 billion over the next four years. The Treasury projected that the budget would be in deficit for the next 10 years. This would mean 16 unbroken years of deficits if Labor had stayed in power. As we heard from the Prime Minister, if you vote for Labor once, you pay for it for a decade. That is a very true story.

In practice, what have Labor done? They have done nothing—nothing but deficits for 12 years, which they created, and they haven't been in government since 1990. The last time they delivered a surplus was when Allan Border was the captain of the Australian cricket team, my 26-year-old son wasn't alive yet, and the West Coast Eagles hadn't won an AFL premiership. Mr Deputy Speaker, I know you're from a different state, but it resonates for a lot of people. People can put a time line through that.

Keeping Australians safe is something that this government has as an absolute priority. For any government, it is front and centre in our future plan for Australia. Those opposite talk a big game, but they're beholden to the Greens and the Labor Left on this. They slashed our defence budget when last in government to rates lower than 1939. And they couldn't stop the boats, and they told us we couldn't stop the boats, so they turned their failed minister for immigration into their shadow Treasurer. If you couldn't secure Australia's borders, how can we put you in charge of Australia's economy? Stopping the boats is more important than just ensuring Australia's border security is in the hands of our agencies. In fact, it allows us to spend more on the services all Australians rely on. As we know, $16 billion was blown by those opposite on border protection. That is just $2 billion shy of the amount in drugs we have listed on the PBS since coming to government. And we can't forget the fact that over 1,200 lives were lost at sea under their border protection policy.

In our budget, we are providing more than half a billion dollars of new funding for our Australian Federal Police to keep Australians safe. This includes funding to enhance our ability in counter-terrorism in all forms and it will help ensure that Australians, anywhere in Australia, are actually safe. Since being in government, we've cancelled the visas of over 4,150 foreign nationals who have committed serious crimes, including murderers, rapists and child sex offenders. That reminds me: this government introduced a bill for mandatory sentencing of paedophiles, rapists and child sex offenders. Guess who voted against it. Can anyone guess who voted against it?


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