Tuesday, 27 September 2022
Matters of Public Importance
Cost of Living
Yes, Deputy Speaker. We heard earlier this week that the Treasurer has found $50 billion. I've never seen a Treasurer look so miserable about finding $50 billion! Has anyone else seen a Treasurer look so miserable about finding $50 billion—or is it $50 billion we delivered him? It came from our time in government. The truth of the matter is that the Treasurer didn't want to see the $50 billion. Now that he's got it, we know he wants to spend it. He's already telling us that. He wants to spend it, and that's exactly what he will do. We know that's what Labor does. When they see a little bit of money, the first thing they want to do is spend it.
He's also making sure he spends it on the things he wants. He's trying to tell others around him, 'No, it's not your gift; it's a gift for the people I want.' It's a $50 billion windfall that has come from the hard work that we did to make sure that as we came out of the pandemic we saw a bounce back, a reversion, to the balanced budget that we had in 2019. In fact, in a remarkable situation, we saw that from November through to May through to the election we ran a cumulative surplus over those months—and what we know is that those opposite just want to spend the money.
Meanwhile, when it comes to cost of living, we know that those opposite are experts in breaking promises. The commitment was made back in November last year, and they have refused steadfastly to say they're going to deliver it, and we know they're not. This is a broken promise. They've had the opportunity at the dispatch box, time and time again, to commit to that promise, but when it comes to cost of living it's all broken promises. When it comes to productivity, they've decided to give up on it. They've dropped their productivity forecast because they say, 'You know what? That's not something we're going to deliver.' And when it comes to real wages—
An opposition member interjecting
I hear the member behind me talking about real wages. Well, the reality of real wages is that the Treasurer has decided that in this term of the parliament, on his forecasts—not ours—there will be no material gains in real wages. So they've given up on their promise on electricity prices, they've given up on their promise on productivity, and they've given up on their promise of real wages. And we know what they're giving up on next, and that is tax cuts. The one thing Labor really hates most of all is to give Australians a tax break—to reduce taxes on small businesses in Australia and on the hardworking Australians who want to get on and have a crack out there, who want to have a go in their small businesses and in their careers. We want to see them succeed. We want lower taxes. We want better managed costs of living. We want a plan from those opposite.