House debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Matters of Public Importance


3:45 pm

Photo of Ms Catherine KingMs Catherine King (Ballarat, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development) Share this | Hansard source

I'll start where the shadow Treasurer started, giving my thoughts to the people of the Northern Rivers. In particular, I visited Lismore just a couple of weeks ago. With the level of devastation and the fact that people are experiencing that today, we have to do much better in terms of disaster assistance and in terms of helping people in those communities.

We saw just then from that performance, somehow, again, this mythology that the Liberal-National coalition are the country's great economic managers. I would say to people tuning into this debate: have a listen to the shadow Treasurer's set of figures that he just outlined around wages growth, unemployment, debt, what happened under the years of Labor governments and the journey from where the economy was to where we are today. That absolutely dispels the myth. I understand that Married at First Sight actually rated higher than the Treasurer's budget, but I was here listening to the Treasurer as, I'm sure, were many Australians. Any Australians who tuned into the budget last night were treated not to a plan for a better future but a plan for just the next 50 days.

After a decade of wasted opportunity, Australians are now being treated to more of the same. We have a Prime Minister who is worried about nobody's job except his own. This is a government led by a Prime Minister who does not care about ordinary Australians but only cares about keeping himself at this side of the table. And we have a Deputy Prime Minister who spends the early hours of the morning sending out unintelligible tweets, yet delays communicating to his state and territory transport counterparts how their budget phasing for road infrastructure and rail infrastructure projects is going to happen.

The Prime Minister doesn't care about planning for this nation's future, because the only future he cares about is his own. You don't have to take my word for it. You can hear it straight from one of his own senators, who in fact served around a cabinet table with him. We saw Senator Fierravanti-Wells, a senator for New South Wales, say that this Prime Minister 'is adept at running with the foxes and hunting with the hounds, lacking a moral compass and having no conscience'. Even more scathingly, she said:

In my public life, I have met ruthless people. Morrison tops the list… Morrison is not fit to be Prime Minister.

There is no better way than to sum up this Prime Minister and government than that they are only in it for themselves. The Prime Minister is not ruthless to improve this country. He is ruthless in the pursuit of his own personal advancement and power. You could see that last night. There is not a thing in this budget that makes up for the decade of attacks on wages, the stagnant wages growth, the attacks on job security and the attacks on our healthcare system, Medicare.

There's a big cash splash before the election designed to get some headlines, and then there is at least $3 billion of secret cuts—the government won't detail what they actually are or where it's going to do those cuts—to come after the election. They promise one thing before the election but deliver cuts after it. What roads, what rail services, what regional community services and what jobs does this Prime Minister plan to cut after the election?

When it comes to the budget, Australians need a pay rise, not a patch-up job that leaves them $26 a week worse off. If this budget weren't riddled with rorts and weighed down by waste and mismanagement, there'd be more room to support families, to support pensioners and to invest in this nation's future. Having failed to hit 52 of their 55 wage growth projections, the Prime Minister and Treasurer want you now to believe that, this time, they really, really mean it. This is a marketing budget from a Treasurer who made 'back in black' mugs before the last election and is now admitting to deficits as far as the eye can see.

Even after this budget, the second-highest taxing government in three decades will collect an extra $5,275 from every Australian compared to the last Labor government. Just think about what an average family could do today with that extra $5,275—what that would mean to a family and how that would change lives and make it easier to cope with the skyrocketing costs of living. This is all at the same time as the Treasurer was forced into the humiliating backdown on car park rorts in his own electorate. This is not a budget for the future; it's a budget for the re-election of the Morrison government. (Time expired.)


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