House debates

Thursday, 13 September 2018


Western Australia

4:30 pm

Photo of Patrick GormanPatrick Gorman (Perth, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

If elected, a Labor government will pass on a fairer deal to the next generation of Australians, because fairness is the driving force behind Labor's vision for Australia and for Western Australia. The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, and Labor have a vision to end years of injustice on the distribution of the GST. The Leader of the Opposition and Labor have a vision to ensure Western Australia receives its fair share of funding for schools, hospitals and infrastructure. The Leader of the Opposition and Labor have a vision to give Australians a pay rise and restore penalty rates for hundreds of thousands of hardworking Australians.

The difference between Labor's positive vision and the current activity within the Liberal government is stark. Labor has led the way on GST reform. The Liberal government's plan for the GST was announced an entire year after Labor put forward its vision. It took a whole year to get something out of the then Treasurer, the now Prime Minister. Labor has said very clearly that it will fix a 70 cent GST floor, moving to 75 cents in law, in the first 100 days of a Shorten Labor government. We'll make the GST floor the law.

This week the member for Burt and I tabled a motion asking for the detail of the plan that the then Treasurer, the now Prime Minister, developed. No-one has seen this detail. I commend the member for Burt for asking what every Western Australian wants to know: where is the detail and where is Western Australia's fair share? We're sick of waiting. We're sick of debating this. It needs to be resolved. I don't know why that detail hasn't been released. I am a little concerned about what I read in The Mercury the other day about how the now Prime Minister allegedly speaks to colleagues in Tasmania. If we know what is being said to those in Tasmania, I would hate to know what is said about Western Australians behind closed doors when all they ask for is a fair share of the GST. I think it is universally acknowledged that it needs to be resolved.

Every day that goes by, we see another claim that it's going to be fixed. Something that makes me, the member for Burt and all hardworking WA Labor members very angry is when we get told that it is fixed. Well, the cheque has not arrived on the Premier's desk. There has not been a single extra dollar provided to Western Australia as a result of this 'fix'. A fair share of the GST is about justice for Western Australia. It doesn't cover up any of the other cuts to services in my community of Perth or my colleague the member for Burt's community, out in Armadale.

Labor will reverse the Liberal government's cuts to hospitals and protect Medicare for the future. Labor has committed more than $2.8 billion to public hospital funding for more nurses and doctors, and to clear elective surgery waiting lists. That's more money for hospitals in Perth, including the Royal Perth Hospital. We need investment in these services because they are an important safety net.

What people in my community are telling me is that they feel like everything is going up except wages. They feel like the economy is not working for them. They are worried about passing on a worse deal to their kids. That's not really a surprise. We've seen inaction on penalty rates from the current government. We've seen cuts to essential services but, until a few weeks ago, a never-ending determination to pass out billions of dollars to the big banks. What we see while on-the-ground services are being cut and while there are serious concerns about people's incomes and reductions in penalty rates is a divided government fighting amongst themselves instead of focusing on the needs of Western Australians.

Australian families were concerned when the Prime Minister referred to his own party as a muppet show. That is the Prime Minister's own description of his own government. I have many policy disagreements with the Liberal Party and the National Party—I outlined a few of them just moments ago—but I was disappointed that the Prime Minister describe the leadership of my country as a muppet show. It's wrong; it's not how we should talk. We should never find ourselves in the position where we have to say that about our own country. We should celebrate what makes this country great. We should celebrate the work that is done in this place and, whatever the specific policy disagreements, we should show respect to the government and not describe it as a muppet show. That's why I'm so pleased to be standing as part of a stable, united Labor team with 100 per cent focus. (Time expired)