House debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Matters of Public Importance


4:20 pm

Photo of Michael SukkarMichael Sukkar (Deakin, Liberal Party, Assistant Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

Labor's got a big test tomorrow night, which I suspect they're not going to rise to the occasion of. The Leader of the Opposition, for three years, has criticised everything and supported everything. We saw that again last night in response to the budget. We saw the Labor Party calling the budget a cash splash and criticising every aspect of the economic plan, yet when we woke this morning we heard from the Leader of the Opposition that they will be supporting the cost-of-living relief in the budget—that it's terrible spending, terrible tax expenditure, but they'll support it anyway.

The Leader of the Opposition has hidden for three years, but you can't hide a more-than-20-year history in politics. You can't hide the fact that he's the most left-wing leader that the Labor Party has had, probably, since Whitlam. He could be further to the left than Whitlam—who knows! But he's trying to hide everything he stood for before: higher taxes, higher income taxes, higher taxes on retirees, higher taxes on housing—every conceivable higher tax, including death taxes, which he supported at one point in his career.

The Leader of the Opposition has not said a thing for three years. He's shamelessly carped for three years. It's been a relentlessly negative opposition in the midst of a pandemic—relentless negativity from this Leader of the Opposition, who has not spelled out what he would do, and tomorrow night is his opportunity to outline an alternative budget. But we already see the Labor Party starting to sow the seeds: 'Oh, we will just talk about some principles tomorrow night; we're not going to outline an alternative budget.'

That's what the Australian people will expect, because from this government they've seen a plan to continue with the economic success of this country, a plan to ease the cost-of-living burdens that they have been facing in recent times, particularly since we've seen global supply chains being impacted, not just by the pandemic but also by the war in Ukraine and the aggression from Russia. The Labor Party can't on one hand criticise every aspect of the budget and on the other hand support it. This is what the Leader of the Opposition has done now for three years.


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