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

They won't hurt union officials, shadow Treasurer. We've just heard how, newsflash, the ACTU has agreed with these tax laws. Who would've thought? Who would've thought that?

Now, after the news broke that Labor would betray its commitment to stage 3 tax cuts I had contact with Matthew Higginson. He's from the town of Coolamon, and I know the shadow Treasurer knows that little town very well, just 40 kilometres from Wagga Wagga. Mr Higginson is a father of seven, soon to be eight—congratulations on that score. He works full time. He's the sole breadwinner for his family—not unusual in the bush. On top of the kids, he also provides financial support for his 75-year-old father, Michael, who lives with him. He says he doesn't receive any family tax benefits or any other financial subsidy or support from the government. That's what he says. He's got a mortgage worth half a million dollars. He was quite prepared to share this with me and quite prepared to share it publicly. He was looking forward to the stage 3 tax cuts to provide him some breathing space against inflation, out of control on Labor's watch, and Labor's cost-of-living crisis—and it is Labor's cost-of-living crisis because it has occurred on Labor's watch.

Matthew is one of the earners between $146,000 and $200,000, who those opposite decided do not deserve the tax break that was previously legislated, previously agreed upon, previously all shared policy. He's one that was promised. People such as Matthew are not ultrawealthy. They're not. All he wants to do is provide for his growing family and pay his dues. He gets that. It's so tough when those opposite are actively setting out to make his life more expensive. People such as Matthew across the country now know that Labor's word means absolutely nothing—absolutely diddly squat. Why should anyone trust the Labor government when they can so blatantly fib and so blatantly breach trust and faith with Australians? Just be up front. That's what Matthew and others want. Just tell us what you're going to do.

It also comes back to the fact that you don't ever believe what Labor say they're going to do. You have to just watch and wait and see what they actually do when they get elected. We all know it's the same old story—say one thing before the election; do completely the opposite after it. This betrayal reminds me of Labor's election commitment to reduce power prices by $275. Hands up all of those who've seen that $275 price reduction in their power bills. I thought so. They're all very busy, looking down at their talking points provided by the Labor dirt unit on their phones. They're probably looking at how many emails they're getting from disillusioned constituents. No-one has seen their power prices come down. They did come down on our watch. In the last two financial years—

It's not rubbish at all, Minister. In the last two financial years of the coalition government, household electricity prices came down—

Honourable members interjecting

We've got a couple of speakers here: one at the dispatch box and one next to me. But the facts are the same: it was by 8 per cent, and for businesses it was by 10 to 12 per cent. See, we know the figures. We know the figures because our constituents are telling us: 'Yes; power prices did come down under you. Why are they so high under Labor?' They want to know why. They want to know why there's been that breach of faith, that breach of promise, that breach of trust.

Honourable members interjecting


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