Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Matters of Public Importance
I thank the member for Canberra for his contribution. I have to say that the Labor Party moving an MPI criticising the Liberal Party and this government on economic management is ambitious. We love ambition in this place. Like watching a bear try to walk on its hind legs or a monkey try to grind its own organ, we have watched that effect when the member for Canberra demonstrated that he really is—
An opposition member: Fraser.
Fraser, sorry—the member for Fraser has really demonstrated today that this MPI is definitely fishing behind the net, because there is very little there.
The national accounts show that the economy is on the right track, especially when you consider the global environment which exists now and especially when you consider that this happened in a quarter when many in the Canberra press gallery were telling our fellow countrymen that they would face a Labor government in the new term—$387 billion in extra taxes, overregulation and antibusiness sentiment. Is it any surprise that most people decided to keep their hands in their pocket?
Since we came to government we have done what we said we would do. We promised to create jobs; we've created over a million of them. We said we would pay down debt; we are now in surplus. We said that we would maintain our AAA credit rating, which was under negative credit watch under Chairman Swan's leadership; we have managed to maintain it. We have deregulated this economy so people are free to make their own choices about how they spend their money and companies are free to invest in the most productive areas. We said that we would make it easier to trade; we have had three substantial free trade agreements, and another two that will shortly be before this parliament. We said we would make it easier to invest and to attract investment to Australia, and we have done that. Most importantly, we said that we would lower taxes for Australians, because we believe that they know how to spend their money better than we do and that they should keep more of the money that they earn; we have done that already since the government was re-elected.
Why did we do all of that? We did it not because it made us feel good but because it did good. We wanted to lower the gender wage gap. We have done that, and it is now at a record low. We wanted to reduce the number of people who are dependent on welfare, and it is now at its lowest level in nearly 45 years. We wanted to increase the number of jobs and employment opportunities in our economy and in our country, and we have managed to do that. These are things that should be celebrated. We said we wanted to increase infrastructure spending, not because it looked good on a spreadsheet but because we wanted people to spend more time with their friends and family and their children than in traffic. I come from an area of this great country where it is not unheard of for people to spend four hours a day in congested traffic trying to get from the northern beaches to work in Parramatta. That's not right and it's not fair. It happened because the Carr-Keneally government spent 16 years doing nothing but tell people not to come to Sydney while, at the same time, those opposite under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government increased our immigration intake to 400,000 people, many of whom came and settled in Sydney. If anything is a greater sign of the intellectual bankruptcy of the Labor Party, it is the pain and misery that they have caused to millions of people of Sydney every single working day.
That is what the Labor Party's tradition is. That's where they will lead us and our economy if ever given a chance. That's what we saw when they were in government. It's been just over 10 years since we had the global financial crisis. Labor borrowed over half a trillion dollars in debt. They gave us pink batts. They gave us cash for clunkers, and now we hear they can't even use recycled plastic when taking $100,000 donations in cash. Wages were down, growth was down and hope was down, but chaos was up. Unfunded programs were way up and debt was up. Everything that should have been up was down and everything that should have been down was up. They left us with an unfunded NDIS scheme. They left us with education funding that was unfunded. They cut infrastructure and defence spending to record lows. They did more damage in six short years than any other government since Gough Whitlam.