House debates

Thursday, 15 February 2024

Matters of Public Importance

Albanese Government

3:48 pm

Photo of Luke HowarthLuke Howarth (Petrie, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Defence Industry) Share this | Hansard source

The MPI today is on 'this government's incompetence and breaches of trust which are harming the Australian people', and I couldn't sum it up better myself. This goes to character and to the character of this government. The Prime Minister has clearly botched and broken trust with the Australian people—a test of character. It's about integrity. What prime ministers say and do counts. Leaders of this country should be held to account.

Time and time again, this government and Prime Minister have proven they can't be trusted. The Prime Minister promised that life would be better under him, but instead people aren't seeing that. Day by day, they're struggling to get ahead. They're being crushed under the weight of higher interest rates, higher rents, higher food prices and higher mortgages—and who can forget higher electricity prices? On 1 May 2022, the Prime Minister said:

Labor has real, lasting plans for

    But it's gone up—

      But the interest rates have gone up 12 times, and rent is through the roof—

        They might have come down a little bit—

          There is now a $70 gap when you go to the doctor. It is $60 in some places. Bulk-billing is gone under the Albanese Labor government. The Prime Minister also promised 100 times that he would keep the legislated tax cuts. We know that he couldn't be trusted. His word was not his bond.

          The government has made bad decision after bad decision. They could have done a whole lot of other things besides breaking their promise on stage 3 tax cuts. They could have reintroduced LMITO rather than having that wound up, which gave $1,500 to millions of people around the country, including thousands in my own electorate. They could have reinstated the fuel discount that we put in place, of 22c a litre, that they let lapse. They could have not wasted half a billion dollars on a destructive and divisive Voice campaign, which they're now going to spend an additional $40 million advertising.

          Australians are hurting, but don't just take my word for it; take the word of local people in my electorate. Robyn White from Redcliffe said:

          Is it ever going to get any better? Families are really struggling. I thought our new Prime Minister would understand after his mum was a single mum and used to struggle. But families cannot cope. When is this government going to do something and help?

          Helen Paddon from Deception Bay said:

          I don't know how we're going to cover the cost of three kids going back to school this year. Weve never been in a situation where we can't. This year is going to be our hardest.

          Rachel Bishop from Bracken Ridge said:

          Groceries and fuel are increasing more than we can handle.

          And I could spend the rest of this parliamentary sitting day's time repeating quotes from local people. They're really struggling under the Albanese Labor government.

          This week an incompetent Albanese Labor government is also impacting our Defence Force. The Albanese government don't want the people of Australia to know that, in a time of unprecedented uncertainty, with conflicts in the Middle East and Europe and tensions in our own geopolitical area, this government is cutting defence personnel and dollars through indecision. Let me put it plainly: there is no new money for investment into defence this year or the year after or in the forward estimates. It's now expected that this financial year they will potentially only spend 1.6 per cent of GDP, which is woeful compared to the 2.04 per cent of GDP allocated for defence. Defence companies are leaving the industry in droves, unable to keep their heads above water. They're not investing in sovereign capability, despite the minister for manufacturing and the Prime Minister saying they would before the election. There were over a million jobs in manufacturing during COVID in this country, and the minister himself said in question time just at the end of last year that there are now under 900,000. That's a 10 per cent loss under the Albanese Labor government.

          We've also had personnel numbers drop. Did you know that right now we only have 58,427 full-time ADF members? Fewer than 60,000. The Chinese have two million, and the US have one million. I think Israel have 240,000 reservists. The target is 62,735; they're 4,308 below that. There's no pastoral care. We've got young women and men wanting to join the ADF around the country, and no-one says, 'Thanks for your application.' Under the Albanese Labor government, we have no plan, no vision, no integrity, no leadership and no clue about what Australia needs at this point in time, and Australians are waking up to this government. They know they deserve better.


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