Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for his question. It has been a very busy 12 months with respect to savings that we have managed to both identify and deliver in the portfolio. In the last 12 months we have already delivered $4 billion worth of savings: $2 billion in legislation, $2 billion administratively. We are on the cusp—and I do thank the Treasurer and the shadow Treasurer for their cooperation on the omnibus savings bill—of delivering an additional $3.9 billion, and there is a further $5 billion that we have identified and are pursuing. Under the stewardship of the Prime Minister, in one portfolio we have either achieved or are in pursuit of $12.9 billion worth of savings in 12 months—$12.9 billion that will not have to be paid back by the next generation to fund our spending today, and that is a very significant achievement.
I was asked whether there was an alternative approach and, whilst I note the cooperation on the omnibus bill, the alternative approach might be generously defined as 'inconsistent'. As you stroll around the parliament today, still in the windows of members opposite is the poster complaining about the measures that they agreed to today in the omnibus bill. It is on the Facebook page. The same poster that complains about the FTB supplement being cut is in the windows of the members opposite today. In fact, the same poster complains about the ending of the schoolkids bonus they agreed to 16 weeks ago. I hate to be the one to break it to members opposite, but it is bad enough complaining about something you agreed to yesterday, let alone complaining about something you agreed to 16 weeks ago.
In fact, while I think of it, the member for Jagajaga on 16 May, when they agreed to the pension asset changes and agreed to ending the schoolkids bonus, was still collecting signatures opposing the thing they had agreed to, which raises the question: who do you provide the petition to? Do you give it to yourself in a little mini ceremony? And, if so, who takes the selfie to maintain the rage on Facebook? Who does that? I mean, come on! The member for Greenway described a measure they have now agreed to in the omnibus bill as 'a cruel ripping of support', but today it is a fair and reasonable savings measure. How does that work, members opposite?
The reality is that for three years we have made savings that we have said are reasonable and fair. The Labor definition of fairness is whatever they agree to on the particular day that they are considering the question. It is all very Lord of the Rings: 'We hates the ending of the schoolkids bonus, don't we, Precious? No, we loves the ending of the schoolkids bonus, don't we, Precious? It is our budget repair friend, isn't it, Precious? (Time expired)
My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to the Treasurer's previous answer, in which the Treasurer said the government was committed to the revenue from its superannuation policy but failed to confirm the government is committed to the policy itself. We ask again: can the Treasurer confirm the non-concessional contribution cap for superannuation will continue to have a $500,000 limit and a 2007 start date?
I thank the member for his question. Once again, I can confirm the package of measures that we took forward to the last election and we took forward in this year's budget, which was designed to make sure that our superannuation system was fairer and more flexible, recognising changing working patterns and the things people work for over the course of their lives so that it can reflect their circumstances—for example, if you are a contractor or running a home based business, you are not denied your access to superannuation concessions—which those opposite opposed. Several weeks ago those opposite said they opposed the measure in the budget, in our superannuation package, which was designed to ensure people running home based businesses—those working for small businesses who could not access salary deductions for superannuation contributions—could access those concessions. They said they would not allow and support those measures.
Our package of measures is designed to deliver all of these things, to deliver that $3 billion in net savings to the budget and to ensure that we are making the system flexible and fairer. And we are committed to those measures achieving that goal. We are absolutely committed to those measures achieving that goal. There is no doubt about what members on this side of the House are committed to. We are committed to fairer, more flexible superannuation that achieves the goal of making sure it is sustainable, and we are committed to ensuring jobs and growth in our economy.
But particularly on the issue of growth I want to raise this. The member opposite has asked this question and I think it goes, really, to what he stands for. I notice his statement today, which says, 'Economic growth is only worthwhile if …' 'If'! In what circumstances do you come into this House and say that economic growth is only there if you are interested in it in particular circumstances? What he is saying is that support for economic growth on that side of the House is conditional.
You have said it is conditional. 'Economic growth is only worthwhile if'—if, if, if. Well, there are no qualifications on economic growth on this side of the House. We know, on this side of the House, that this economy has to fight for every inch of growth it can get, because only by growth can you get the jobs— (Extension of time granted)
I thank the member for that opportunity, because the statement is entitled 'Referring to the achievements'—achievements, Mr Speaker! Let me list some of the achievements of those opposite over the last 12 months. No. 1, they lost the election because they did not have an economic plan. No. 2, they took a budget black hole to the last election and said you need to increase the deficit by $16½ billion. Their other achievement was to backflip on $47 billion of spending promises they made that they backflipped on at the last election. Whether it was on foreign aid or the schoolkids bonus or pension assets tests or whatever it was, it was $47 billion worth of backflips. The other thing they have backed is the lazy Susan of Australian politics, Senator Dastyari. That is what they have backed. That is one of their achievements. They voted against multinational tax legislation.
Opposition members interjecting—
In addition to opposing our laws to get multinationals to pay their fair share of tax—that was one of their other achievements—they tried to smash the property market with their proposal to attack hardworking Australians just trying to get ahead by investing in a rental property. In addition to that, they sought to block critical infrastructure such as WestConnex in Sydney and Freight Link in Perth. Of course, the great achievement they were following on from was their seeking to scuttle the East West Link, where the taxpayers of Victoria had to pay more than $1 billion for the privilege of not building a road.
Opposition members interjecting—
The Treasurer will resume his seat. The member for McMahon can resume his seat for a second. The member for Grayndler can cease interjecting. We will just take a moment out. I asked the member for Lindsay to cease interjecting and she began to interject continuously. I have warned the member for Lindsay. She is a new member. I am warning her again. It will be the last time.
Mr Albanese interjecting—
Interjections on me are highly disorderly. I warn the member for Grayndler.