House debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Matters of Public Importance


3:55 pm

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

In five weeks time, the early voting polls are going to start opening. Members of the coalition will ask the people of Australia to vote for a Prime Minister whom their own Deputy Prime Minister has called a hypocrite. He has actually said a lot worse things than that, but the rules of parliament require that I cannot use these words. The former Premier of New South Wales has described this person as a horrible, horrible man. The current senator from New South Wales has described the Prime Minister as a person without moral compass, who is not fit to hold the office of Prime Minister. The most remarkable thing about each of these people is that they all know the Prime Minister a lot better than anybody else on this side of the House and much better than just about any other Australian. So if the people who know the Prime Minister best are saying that he can't be trusted, that he is a horrible, horrible person and that he is not fit to hold the office of Prime Minister, how on earth can the people of Australia say that this guy is worth a second decade in office?

Any one of these criticisms should be fatal, but that is not the case on which the Australian Labor Party says this rotten government should be thrown out of office. They are all character flaws indeed, but the principal argument that we will be taking to the next election is that they should not enjoy a second decade in office because, frankly, they are just incompetent—rotten to the core and incompetent. They stand here and talk about their own superior economic management, but they have delivered to the Australian people the three largest budget deficits in our nation's history and $1 trillion worth of debt. We are coming close to the point where we will be spending as much on interest payments repaying this government's debt as we spend each year on Medicare. These are eye-watering amounts of money, and yet this mob over here try to lecture us on economic management.

They say that the economy is coming back. They say, 'Just trust us with three more years; the good times are just around the corner.' Well, if you're an Australian sitting around the dinner table and you want to measure how the economy is going, there is only one thing you are thinking about: 'Are my wages going up? Is there more money coming in to meet the costs of our family budget or less?' You do not have to listen to the member for Rankin. You do not have to listen to myself. All you need to do is read the government's own budget papers. It's there in black and white.

In this year alone, real wages go back by a whopping 2.75 per cent—that is, by the end of this year, you are nearly three per cent worse off under this government's economic plan then you were at the beginning of it. They talk about economic recovery and good times being just around the corner, but you're 2.75 per cent worse off at the end of this year than you were at the beginning. The member for Rankin, the number of the top of our head is $26 per week, and the Prime Minister says, 'Don't look at that; look over here!' He's the ultimate sideshow huckster. We won't have any of this. The Australian people, if they want a pay rise, have got to vote for Scott Morrison not once but twice, because under their own budget papers it's going to take over three years before they see an increase in real wages. So the economy supposedly improving means nothing to the ordinary Australian family until they see their real wages going up, and under this mob there's a plan for them to go backwards. So, whether you vote against the Prime Minister because he's got no moral compass or because he's a horrible, horrible person or, in the words of the Deputy Prime Minister, he can't be trusted and he's just a hypocrite, or whether you vote against him because your wages are going backwards, this mob have to go. (Time expired)


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