House debates

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Matters of Public Importance

Economy

3:40 pm

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

Every time the Treasurer or the Prime Minister or the interjectors want to pretend that the economy is going great guns, people out in the community say, 'What planet are these guys from?' People are dealing with stagnant wages, record household debt and declining living standards. No matter how hard they work they can't get ahead. And if they happen to have the misfortune of switching over to question time during the day, they see the Treasurer and the Prime Minister being so spectacularly out of touch that they think everything in the economy is hunky-dory.

We have played a constructive role in trying to make the government see sense. We have proposed some ideas. The government could pick them up and run with them, and we would support them. They could pick up all of these ideas or they could pick up some of them, but more of the same is not going to cut it. We have proposed bringing forward their own tax cuts. We have proposed doing something about Newstart. We have proposed doing something about wages or bringing forward some infrastructure investment. We have proposed an incentive for business investment. We have proposed, multiple times, trying to find a way through on the energy policy debacle, which has seen those opposite have 16 different policies in six years. We need to do those things if we are to get the economy growing again. We invite the government to pick up any or all of the ideas that we have proposed in good faith to try and get this economy going again.

They talked about certainty. They should have tabled the focus group report today when they were banging on about stability and certainty. Only one thing is certain: more of the same will not get this economy out of the doldrums that it finds itself in after six years, and in the third term, of those opposite. They have to actually do something about what's going on in the economy. Crossing your fingers, hoping for the best, banging on about the Labor Party and having a political strategy but not an economic policy—none of those things will actually get the economy growing again. It's not enough to pretend that you're good at managing the economy, when the facts tell a very different story. In essence, the story that the facts tell is this: the economy is floundering, the government is flailing and Australians are struggling and paying the price for a government that doesn't have a plan to turn things around.

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