House debates

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Statements by Members

Turnbull Government

1:45 pm

Photo of Tony ZappiaTony Zappia (Makin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Manufacturing) Share this | | Hansard source

We have a Treasurer who is not up to the job and is fast becoming a national joke. We have a Treasurer who has lost control of his budget deficit, lost control of his ministers' spending and lost control of the national debt—with gross debt heading to $550 billion. We have a Treasurer who has no idea and no strategy to get his budget in order, as made clear after 46 minutes at the National Press Club last week. We have a Treasurer who has not only been sidelined by his Prime Minister but is also now being gagged. Even his talkback radio host supporters have turned on him.

So chaotic has the situation become that the Council of Australian Governments meeting had to be cancelled because, as the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory said, 'the national tax reform discussion has become even more uncertain'. We had the Treasurer encouraging discussion about a 50 per cent hike to the GST—until the Prime Minister pulled the rug from under him. Yesterday the Prime Minister, making policy on the run, said that there would be no change to capital gains taxes. Hours later, it was reported that the capital gains tax changes were back on the table. Who is running the Treasury? Is it the Prime Minister or is it the Treasurer?

This is a Treasurer who, with his cruel cuts, thought he could be as tough on the Australian people as he was on refugees as immigration minister. Unlike refugees, Australians get to vote; and, unlike the Treasurer, they can do their sums.