Monday, 20 August 2018
In his 2013 budget reply speech, the then Leader of the Opposition, the member for Warringah, Tony Abbott, said that, if the coalition was to win the election, 'there will be no nasty surprises and there'll be no lame excuses.' The member for Warringah managed to foreshadow the direct opposite of what actually happened. What we've seen over the past five years of this coalition government is nothing short of chaos, backed up by lame excuses—pain for everyday Australians, pain for the grassroots in our society, pain for the people in electorates like mine of Lalor.
Here is a short summary. Under this government, the nation has spiralled into debt. Residents in my community are left with limited access to vital services. Inequality is at record highs. Wages are stagnant. The cost of living is going through the roof. Despite all the talks of a 'budget emergency' when the coalition were first elected in 2013, their 'budget repair' job has done nothing but drive further debt and dysfunction. The coalition's 2014 'budget repair' job predicted that the deficit would drop to $2.8 billion in 2017-18. Well, the deficit has now blown out to $14.5 billion under this government. The government has managed to do this while slashing funding from schools and hospitals, shifting costs to the states and territories; freezing the Medicare rebate; cutting funds from our public broadcaster, the ABC; cutting the pension; cutting public sector jobs, including Centrelink staff; ruining the NBN; and let's not forget the current disaster that is the rising cost of energy, being felt in households and businesses around this country. But, despite ruthless cuts, to fix the so-called budget emergency, the Prime Minister has still managed to find $17 billion to give to the big banks in the form of tax cuts and $75 billion for big business. This out-of-touch Prime Minister will stop at nothing to protect his own job and look after his big business mates at the top end of town. This government and this Prime Minister have their priorities wrong, and today we're seeing that play out in Canberra.
I would suggest that this Prime Minister, instead of being self-righteous, should take a moment to think about the people in my community who, as a result of his and his government's actions and inactions, are struggling with the rise in the cost of living, the rise in the cost of health and the rise in the cost of energy. We don't get the appropriate rhetoric from those opposite. They don't seem to care about how Australians living their everyday lives are coping with their decisions. Instead, we have a government hell-bent on dividing the nation and hell-bent on dividing themselves. As the member for Lalor, I would say to the government: get your house in order; there's a country that needs your support.