Thursday, 17 July 2014
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to an email I received from Marie Kinniburgh in my electorate and her 23-year-old daughter with a disability. Marie said: 'We will be affected by all the constraints imposed by the new pension indexation, health payments, student loans, petrol excise, utilities concession defunding and rebate freezing.' On top of this, Marie tells me her daughter will lose the pensioner education supplement, which is worth more than $1,600 a year. Can the Prime Minister advise what further cuts he is now planning that will hit Marie and her family?
I do not pretend that the decisions that this government have made are going to be cost-free for members of the public. I do not pretend that for a second. Obviously, we have changed the indexation system for various social security benefits and, obviously, we are seeking to introduce a co-payment for doctors visits. I absolutely accept that. I accept also that this will impact on the people of Australia. But I simply make the point that there is no cost-free way of dealing with Labor's debt and deficit disaster. I do hope that the member who asked the question was honest with Marie and said to her—
Ms Kate Ellis interjecting—
Ms Plibersek interjecting—
that the government do not particularly want to do these things, but the government have to do these things in order to deal with the debt and deficit disaster which the Labor Party—the party that the member who asked the question represents—created. The difference between the government and the opposition is that we have a plan to deal with the debt and deficit disaster that Labor created and Labor is in denial about the debt and deficit disaster that it created.
Labor used to think that a surplus was important. As soon as they moved into opposition, they thought that a surplus was unimportant. As soon as they moved into opposition, they abandoned even the rhetorical commitment to achieving a surplus. This is the problem with members opposite: they were incompetent in government and they are irresponsible in opposition. They were wreckers in government and now they simply want to wreck government generally.