House debates

Thursday, 15 February 2024

Matters of Public Importance

Albanese Government

3:37 pm

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

It is nice. It is absolutely nice, Member for Fisher. But they've also decided to give $40 million to advertising, promoting and marketing their stage 3 tax cuts. That is so shameful. That is so disgraceful, and everyone opposite knows it. If they were good members they'd go out and spruik it themselves. They'd put it on their own social media. They probably will. But when we think that they're spending $26 million more on spin doctors than they are on Foodbank—it's no wonder you've all got your heads down. You should be embarrassed by it. It's absolutely disgraceful.

Then you've got pharmacists, such as the one in my electorate, having to give away free medication to pensioners who can't afford it. Then we've got the Minister for Health and Aged Care—and I'd like the member for Dobell to listen carefully because she is the regional health minister and I know she comes to this place with a good heart—saying that, if doctors aren't bulk-billing, people should just go and pick up the phone and ring another one who might. That's all well and good in a city electorate like his in Adelaide, but it ain't good enough in regional Australia! It's hard enough to get a doctor, let alone one that might bulk-bill. If you don't want that first one and you're lucky enough to have another one on the end of the phone, it might be hundreds of kilometres away. You are in pain and you have to be forced to go hundreds of kilometres, because the health minister thinks that doctors are so prevalent in the bush that they're absolutely everywhere.

This government has put in place a truckie tax. They've absolutely hurt the Murray-Darling Basin irrigators by taking productive water away and sending it out the mouth of the Murray. That's the way they're going to make sure that we grow more Australian food. Well, it's not. That's going to lead to more imported food and higher grocery prices. They've put in place so many taxes, and then they come in here today, puff their chests out and say, 'We're delivering better tax relief for lower and middle-income people.' They never mention stage 1 and stage 2 tax cuts. They've put $26 million more into spin doctoring than they would into Foodbank.

This government stands condemned for all the taxes they've put on lower and middle-income people. They stand condemned for doing what they said they wouldn't do prior to the election—which was one great fib.


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