House debates

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Matters of Public Importance

Cost of Living

3:46 pm

Photo of Josh BurnsJosh Burns (Macnamara, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I'll refer to him by his correct title. The member for Hume comes in talking about the cost of living. I'm very pleased to rise on this opportunity to talk about the economic management of the previous 10 years. These people set the gold standard of economic management. They were the best—the best of the best. They did things like the Regional Growth Fund building a pool underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Nothing screams regional development more than doing a few laps outside the Opera House! Watching the P&O cruise just go by in the Harbour! This is regional Australia at its best, isn't it? The Ruby Princess just sailing by, and you think, 'This is regional Australia at its absolute best!'

No, the member for Hume obviously was the Minister for Energy—the famous Minister for Energy—in his previous capacity. He comes into this place talking about cost of living, and we on this side of the House know that the cheapest form of energy is renewable energy. The CSIRO and the AEMO have said consistently that the cheapest form of energy is renewable energy backed up by some form of dispatchable energy, and yet what is the answer from the member for Hume and all of the geniuses on that side of the House post the election to try to answer the question of the cheapest form of energy in Australia? It is not the cheapest form of energy but the most expensive form of energy. Radioactive Man—that's what they want. They want the most expensive form of energy in this House.

For the millions of Australians watching this MPI at home, supporting the member for Hume unlike his colleagues over there: thank you, thank you. His colleagues weren't interested in watching, but I'm sure there are millions of Australians watching this! The member for Hume doesn't want your power bills to double. He doesn't want you to triple them. He wants them to go up by four or five times, because those would be the repercussions if the member for Hume had his way and built a nuclear power plant or a couple of nuclear power plants in this country.

As we came into government, one of the first things that we did on this side of the House, and one of the proudest things that we do as members of a Labor government, was everything we could to lift the wages of those in our country, especially those on the minimum wage—unlike those opposite. We all remember the former finance minister, who said that low wages are a deliberate design feature of their economic management. Well, that changed at the election. Under this government, one of the first things we did was make a submission to the Fair Work Commission to lift the wages of those on the minimum wage, and that is exactly what happened. There was also a submission made to lift the wages of our aged-care workers, some of the hardest-working Australians, who went to work during the pandemic and literally put their lives on the line to support our senior Australians.

Today, of all days, when we introduced a historic bill to make child care and early childhood more affordable for Australians, the member for Hume comes in and tries to lecture us about the cost of living. Well, let's see if those opposite support the measures to make child care more affordable. They like to rattle on about tax cuts in this country, yet they cannot bring themselves to support the one bill that's being considered in the parliament right now that's going to lower taxes for electric vehicles. They're all for tax cuts, apparently.


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