Thursday, 29 October 2020
Statements by Members
[by video link] Much of the commentary on the recent budget has focused on the $214 billion fiscal deficit, but the deficit that should be of greatest concern to Australia is the deficit in vision. This government has racked up a trillion dollars of debt, but no one is the wiser as to how that will help this country navigate its challenges. Even before COVID-19 Australia a had chronically high unemployment and underemployment, totalling at almost 20 per cent in some regions. But there's no plan for fixing employment growth in the sea of red.
Even before COVID Australia had no plan for emissions reduction and was falling behind comparable economies. The last budget didn't fix that. Even before COVID-19, wages had stalled for too many, while the cost of living rose. The last budget offered no hope for bridging that gap.
Out of World War II Australia built important social protections and invested in housing. Out of the 1990s recession Australia built a world-class superannuation system. If you want to see vision, you need to look at Anthony Albanese's budget reply for productivity growth and participation growth through long overdue reform to child care, for jobs in manufacturing and for much-needed investment in transmission. This budget has a policy and vision deficit that this country can ill afford.