House debates

Tuesday, 13 February 2024


Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living Tax Cuts) Bill 2024, Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living — Medicare Levy) Bill 2024; Second Reading

6:25 pm

Photo of Michael McCormackMichael McCormack (Riverina, National Party, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | Hansard source

He's passionate, you see? He's absolutely passionate. So he should be, because he is the shadow Treasurer, and he looks opposite and sees the member for Rankin, who ain't no Paul Keating, let me tell you. He's certainly no Paul Keating, and he's certainly not of that ilk where Labor treasurers actually understood—like Michael Eagan, the former New South Wales Treasurer and the longest-serving state Treasurer in New South Wales history who died just the other day, and God rest his soul. They understood reality, Michael Egan and Paul Keating. They actually did get how people are feeling, because they were in touch with their constituents. This mob aren't. Certainly, the member for Rankin is not.

Let's just have a look at 18 months of Labor and what has actually gone up in that time. With the cost of food, there's been a 9 per cent increase, and the cost of housing is up 12 per cent—that's if you can afford a house. It is so hard. We heard how the Minister for Housing, the member for Franklin, had a program under her watch to build—I don't know, was it a million houses? Then it became—who knows?—tens of thousands. I don't think we'll ever see a house built. When I raised the issue about the Victorian state Labor government shutting down the timber industry, she interjected on me during a matter of public importance or a speech. I was making an earnest point, and she said, 'What's timber got to do with housing?' or thereabouts. Really? That's what houses are built out of. Anyway, I digress. The cost of insurance is up 22 per cent. The cost of electricity is up 20 per cent. Just don't mention that in front of Victorians at the moment who are in darkness. The cost of gas is up 27 per cent. Those opposite don't want gas anyway; they want it eliminated.

The Treasurer comes to the dispatch box during his last budget speech and talks about 'the things we sell overseas'. He can't talk about agriculture or coal or iron ore or gas. He can't dare mention those forbidden words—coal and iron ore and gas. 'The things we sell overseas,' he says. He was the first Treasurer in 25 years not to mention the word 'infrastructure' in his budget speech. That's just shameful. But no wonder he didn't mention it, because just prior to the election—a couple of weeks beforehand—Labor put in place a 90-day review into all of the infrastructure that was being built under the Liberals and Nationals. How long do you reckon that 90-day review took?

I shouldn't start the member for Hume off again, because I won't get another word in edgeways. It was more than 200 days. But that's pretty good for Labor, really, when you think about it—from 90 for 200. That's pretty close for Labor. This isn't pretty close. This is an outrage. Whilst we appreciate that people do need tax breaks, it just goes to show that Labor fibbed again.


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