Thursday, 4 April 2019
Matters of Public Importance
I was hoping to finish this parliamentary year in the spirit of the member for Sturt's remarks, a spirit in which we come together and celebrate the achievements of our great country and what we seek to do as a nation to recognise it. I don't dispute that whoever is in government aspires, hopes and wishes to do the best for the Australian people. We can disagree on the policy and the detail, but always there is the aspiration to do the right thing. Sadly, this has been denied us by the opposition, who have put forward this patently ridiculous matter of public importance.
This matter of public importance goes to the heart of why I'm a Liberal. It goes to the foundations of our values and, yes, a modern Liberal vision for this country. It is one where we understand the importance of intergenerational equity and the social contract, one where we understand that we can give no greater gift to future generations than the stewardship and inheritance of a sound economy and a society that's united in an environment that cares for them so that they can live out their lives freely. That's the core and the focus of what this government has sought to do. It's why we have made getting the budget back into black so important, because every dollar of debt that is incurred means taxes for future generations to pay. Every dollar of debt incurred by the Labor Party and their agenda denies future generations their freedom. That's why we have made it such a priority, because it enables future generations to live their lives freely and makes sure they don't pay more than their fair share of tax.
We made sure that we put the budget into surplus so that in the Goldstein electorate alone 24,077 people are receiving the low- and medium-income tax offset. Getting the budget into surplus means that 11,000 age pensioners in Goldstein are going to see support through the energy supplement and, of course, the regular indexation of pensions. Getting the budget into surplus is so critical because we're then able to fund essential services at record levels. I know that in Goldstein alone we have seen significant increases in hospital funding. Of course, public hospital funding in Victoria has increased by 80 per cent under this government. We've seen an increase in the GP bulk-billing rate to 66 per cent in Goldstein. And, of course, we've seen massive funding increases for public schools across the entire electorate as well as seeing many people enjoy things like the childcare package. This is complemented by tax reform to diminish the obligation, the tax burden, that future generations will have, so that they can be successful and support themselves and their families, buy their own home and secure their future.
Thinking about the future is core to everything that we stand for on this side of the chamber, and it is everything that is disregarded—for the indulgence of today, without any sense of probity or responsibility—by those who sit on the opposition benches. It is one of the reasons this country is always better off when I am sitting over here and you are sitting over there. What we are able to do is make sure that we have a situation where we can support those people who have a go—who stand up, who want to employ people, who create a small business and the opportunities for others—because the greatest contribution that anybody can make in this country is to stand on their own two feet so they can help others do the same and help those who are unable to do so.
What we're doing with the small and medium businesses in Goldstein, the 24,435 who are going to get tax relief under this budget, is backing them every single step of the way. If you had the honesty and decency to repeal this matter of public importance, you would acknowledge that there are thousands of businesses in your electorates that would enjoy those benefits as well. There are 24,500 small and medium businesses in Goldstein who will benefit from the government's instant asset write-off. That will flow through the whole economy. It will flow through the whole of society and make this country a better place.