House debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Matters of Public Importance

Albanese Government

3:46 pm

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I have received a letter from the honourable the Leader of the Opposition proposing that a definite matter of public importance be submitted to the House for discussion, namely:

This Government's pattern of breaking promises and breaking trust with the Australian people.

I call upon those honourable members who approve of the proposed discussion to rise in their places.

More than the number of members required by the standing orders having risen in t heir places—

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

Let me give you a quote: 'My word is my bond.' Who did say that, and, on 99 other occasions, give a similar promise in the same vein? It was the man that the Australian public voted for, only 18 months ago, who they have now decided is a very different person, of a very different character than he was when they voted for him in May 2022.

The reality is that this Prime Minister is barely recognisable, because he has completely and utterly trashed his reputation. His word counts for nothing. There is nothing that this Prime Minister can say, no commitment that he can give, no undertaking that he can provide, no promise or assurance that he can give that the Australian public could actually reliably bank. This is a prime minister devoid of any moral character.

You can't look the Australian public in the eye on 97 occasions and tell them that their power bill is going down by $275. The basis on which many Australians voted for him was that they thought their power bills were coming down. Do you know, he has not mentioned that once—not once—since being elected. Not once has he ever mentioned that figure again—97 times before the election, but not once since. What are Australians supposed to believe—that this Prime Minister is going to keep his promise; that somehow, magically, their power bills will go down by $275? It was not just on a single occasion, but each year, he promised.

So, by the end of the three-year term, the Prime Minister has a lot to deliver. He's not going to, of course. He never had any intention of delivering that promise. He never thought for a moment before the election that he would be held to account for that key promise.

We saw the Prime Minister in question time today, completely avoiding a straight answer to every question. He carries on with the theatrics. He was asked specifically about the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, and comments he'd made about the new car and ute tax that the Labor Party is bringing in. Over the weekend, the minister was out there saying that this will be great for emissions reductions. He cited the case of the Mazda CX-30. He said that the emissions reduction in the model of the CX-30 in the UK was dramatically less than the models sold here in Australia. As it turns out, what he said on that day was not accurate, but that comes as no surprise to anyone in this place. What he failed to mention and what the Prime Minister refused to respond to today is that, in the UK, under the fuel emission standards proposed to be brought in by this government, the CX-30 is $19,000 dearer than it is here in Australia. The Prime Minister didn't mention the figure of $19,000. He didn't mention the prospect of a price increase. How on earth can Australians afford the Labor Party? How can Australians who are under the pump at the moment with increased energy prices, with increased food prices, with increased prices for every element within their family budget afford a $19,000 increase in the price of an average family car? The answer is that they cannot.

This Prime Minister is so out of because most of his time is spent with the elite in this country. We know of his relationship with Alan Joyce. He never mentions Alan Joyce these days. He used to be happy to walk the red carpet on regular occasions, have Alan Joyce over for cocktails at the Lodge and have him over for whiskey at Kirribilli. Has he mentioned him recently? No, he hasn't. But these are the people who he hangs out with. He's not talking to average families in the suburbs whose mortgage has gone up by $24,000 after tax. That's $48,000 if you're on the top marginal tax rate or $40,000 or $45,000 depending on what tax rate you're on. How on earth can the average Australian family, when they're paying over $2 a litre for petrol or diesel in this country under this government, their insurance premiums have doubled and gas is up by 30 per cent, afford the continuing bills that are mounting up under this government, let alone try to find $600, $700 or $800 out of their pay packets each week to just service their mortgage? No wonder you're seeing price rises in your grocery basket as you are taking it to the checkout.

I have an enormous amount of sympathy with Australians, particularly those on lower incomes, those on fixed incomes, such as self-funded retirees, and people on bigger incomes who have higher needs because they've got a special-needs child at home, and one of the partners in that relationship has decided to stay at home. Perhaps there's a particular skill that one of the partners in that relationship or marriage has, and they've decided that they want to work, because the other partner is staying at home to take care of the children. That's a perfectly legitimate decision for that family to make. I have enormous respect for the decisions that those people have made in their own lives for the right reasons, but I desperately worry that under this government the prices that families are facing and the difficulties that Labor has created over the last two years will continue, and the damage to those families will indeed be long lasting.

We haven't seen wholesale sales of assets, particularly the family home, in our country for a long period of time—not since the Labor Party was in during the Hawke-Keating period. At the moment, the banks aren't moving on families, even if they're behind in their payments, because the banks know that they don't want a run on that asset class. They know that people are sitting on considerable equity within their own homes so that, as interest continues to compound, the bank's exposure, if there is a fire sale of that asset, is not as dramatic as it would have been in this country some time ago. There is still, of course, significant underlying demand for homes in our country because the CFMEU and others, including this government, have decimated the building industry. We know, though, that those families are feeling the stress. They are feeling the stress.

When we were in government, we legislated for stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3 tax cuts. Stage 1 and stage 2 were targeted at people on low and middle incomes. It was $200 billion worth of tax cuts for those people. It was voted for by the Prime Minister. It was promised on a hundred occasions. The Prime Minister went to two elections assuring the Australian public that there was no difference between the position of the coalition and the position of the party that he led. There have been $200 billion of tax cuts already provided. We know that that has been delivered, and stage 3 was scheduled to be delivered. We know that the LMITO tax offset arrangements that we put in place provided considerable assistance to people on low and middle incomes. But we know that when the Labor Party came into power they abolished that offset, which means that today Australians, only 18 months after they voted for this Prime Minister, are paying 27 per cent more personal income tax than when the Prime Minister was first elected.

If you contrast those facts to the rhetoric and bluster and nonsense that we heard today, you know that this is a prime minister who can't lie straight in bed. You know that this Prime Minister, when he's lying awake at the Lodge at night, he must be lying there in bed—

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Be careful, Leader of the Opposition. I'm listening to you.

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

He must be lying there in bed, thinking, as he lies there in bed, 'What could he do?' as he instinctively lies there in bed. As he's there, lying in bed, he's talking to the Treasurer on the phone, I'm sure. He's talking to the Treasurer on the phone—

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Leader of the Opposition, please stop. I appreciate you are trying to be very careful with the language you are using, and I will remind you, as I will everyone, of standing order 90. I'm listening carefully. If you step over the line, I will pull you up.

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

So there he is, lying in bed, and he's on the phone to the Treasurer. He's talking about ways in which they can deceive the Australian public again. It comes instinctively. It comes instinctively to this man.

As you look through the broken promises that this Prime Minister has presided over, they are many and varied. The problem is that Australians are paying the price for this government's decisions. They've had two budgets. They have made a situation that is almost unbearable for millions of Australians, and he should stand condemned for his actions and for his conduct that has misled the Australian people. (Time expired)

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Before we go any further, everybody speaking on this debate needs to be reminded of standing order 90, and I'll repeat it for you now:

All imputations of improper motives to a Member and all personal reflections on other Members shall be considered highly disorderly.

I give the call to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for the Arts.

3:57 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

It's not lost on me, as we get to the end of this week where the biggest national issue for weeks has been the government's tax cuts, that we've had to wait until that moment—that moment just then—for the Leader of the Opposition to want to talk about them in the House. He had Tuesday's question time. We went through all the questions. He didn't want to ask about it. He had Wednesday's question time. We went through all the questions. He wanted to talk about anything but. We had Thursday's questions. He wanted to talk about everything but. He waited until after a very long question time, which was made slightly longer because of the vote that we had about me. He had all those opportunities to be able to ask about the tax policy. None of them were taken.

It's interesting: if you look at the different things the Leader of the Opposition has been saying over the years, he's always projecting. He talks about a glass jaw, but criticise him and, wow, see the reaction. He talks about being gutsy and brave and he waits until the MPI on the final day, when a whole lot of his own people have already been punted from the parliament, before he's willing to talk about it—at quarter to four, just before people are getting on planes. This is a leader of the opposition who loves to talk tough, who loves to be in there and claim that other people have a glass jaw but who is himself so highly sensitive on what he claims is a huge issue. He's right on that: the tax cuts are a huge issue. But, on that, he's not willing to have any of his arguments tested during question time when the whole nation is watching. Let's not forget how they've been all over the place on this. Let's not forget what their responses have been. When it comes to tax policy, the first reaction often gives away what people actually think. The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party spoke on behalf of the opposition when she was asked not only whether they were opposed to the tax cuts but if they would roll them back. And the answer was, 'Absolutely.' 'Absolutely,' was the response. Their values won't change on this.

They have always, historically, been the party of higher taxes. The Howard-Costello government had the highest tax ratio to GDP of any Australian government. The last time they were in office, in the 2014 budget after promising no new taxes, the first thing they did was introduce new taxes in their first budget. And he's claiming, 'I'm cleaning up the mess.' You were delivering surpluses, were you? Where did that end? Over there, they came in last time claiming that they would deliver a surplus in the first year and every year after that. Apparently, COVID happened in their first term. There's a show that will explain what happened in their first term! I'll send you the link!

We then also had on behalf of the opposition: 'When this legislation hits parliament, we will fight it all the way. I'm digging in.' This is what digging in looks like? This is a complete capitulation where what they want to do is say: 'Yeah, we support it. We want it to happen. We're just really angry about it. It really upsets us.' The simple question for those opposite the whole way through this is: did you want the government to change its position? Or did you want it to continue to be a situation where not every Australian was going to get a tax cut? The anger has made it clear to exactly everybody that those opposite wanted a situation where 84 per cent or more of Australians were not getting a tax cut. That's what they wanted to be able to deliver. They wanted to be able to deliver a situation where the concept of every Australian getting a tax cut was not going to happen. The concept of the vast majority of Australians getting tax cuts to be better off was not going to happen.

This government is functioning on two key principles, here. We want people to earn more and keep more of what they earn. Those opposite disagree at every turn on both of those principles. Every time we have taken a proposal to the Fair Work Commission arguing for people to be paid more, they've opposed it. They opposed it in the election campaign. They continued to oppose a government saying we want people to be paid more. Every time we have brought in legislation, right through to this moment right now in divisions in the Senate, those opposite have been voting to stop people from being paid more. It's right to the extent of wanting a situation where a whole lot of lowly paid gig workers should continue to have no minimum standards at all. But not only do they want people to earn less; they also want people to be taxed more. That's exactly what they've done. This might be too in house or parliamentary, but have a look at the second reading amendment that they put out that they're going to vote on later. They will vote, and it's only being moved—

We'll see, given that you think it doesn't matter which way you vote on it, my friend. It returns to the principles of stage 3. If that's what they've moved formally in the parliament, if right at the start of this they said that was 'absolutely' their position and if their track record last time was to put taxes up the moment they got in, then I reckon it's a fair bet. I think we all know what's coming from those opposite. They are committed to a system in which middle Australia pays more tax. They are committed to a system in which Australians earn less and are taxed more. I guess the words to sum that up came from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition again. There's so much! 'This is our position. This is absolutely our position.' We know what their beliefs are, we know what they wanted to do, and we know what they did last time.

It won't only be in taxation and wages policy, because nobody is an enemy of Medicare the way this Leader of the Opposition is an enemy of Medicare.

That 2014 budget didn't just put income tax up; it also put a tax on every visit to the GP. When you ask people what the cornerstone of the concept of Medicare is, what the most important marker we want to be able to improve is, it's bulk-billing. If you have to pay every time, even when your doctor wants to bulk-bill, that is the end of the foundations of Medicare. That was the 2014 budget. That was the policy of the then Minister for Health who is now the Leader of the Opposition. He wanted Australians to have to pay a $7 GP tax. He wanted essential medicines to cost an extra $5 per script. We voted for cheaper medicines. Those opposite have been furious about cheaper medicines, but it's not simply that they don't want them to be cheaper—they actively have had policies to make them more expensive, and the architect of those policies is the person they have elected as their leader. He wanted to charge Australians to use emergency departments. People would have been charged for that. He froze the indexation of the Medicare rebate, undermining the viability of GP practices, and ripped out $50 billion from the hospital's budget.

We can look at what they do. Sometimes you say, 'Don't look at what they say; look at what they do,' but we can look at both. They do both and they are continuing to do both. And every time they complain and get angry about the tax cuts, it's clear to every Australian that they didn't want the government to change its position. They think that was the wrong thing to do. They don't believe we should have come forward and said, 'Here is the method that has been advised to us by Treasury, that will help people with the cost of living and that will not put pressure on inflation.' They reckon we should have taken that advice, knowing as a parliament that we could do something, and done nothing with it. And not simply because they believe in doing nothing, but because they believe that every pathway should be in the opposite direction: pay people less, tax people more. It's their record, it's their belief, it's how they vote in there, it's clear in every interview that they give. You had only to watch the fury build on 7.30 last night to know it's exactly what the Leader of the Opposition has in mind.

4:07 pm

Photo of David LittleproudDavid Littleproud (Maranoa, National Party, Shadow Minister for Agriculture) Share this | | Hansard source

On election night the Prime Minister said, 'No one held back, no one left behind.' That's unless you live in regional and rural Australia. And there's no greater betrayal than that of the Murray Darling Basin Plan—the plan that they have torn up and are now taking an additional 450 gigalitres away from. The Leader of the House was here in this parliament with me when it moved the legislation to protect those regional communities in 2019, and now he walks out on them and on that reform that was going to ensure regional communities survive. We are not going to take away the tools that farmers need to produce the food and fibre. Every Australian will pay the bill for the betrayal of this government. The Leader of the House, who was here as the opposition spokesman, now leaves because he knows that he worked in a bipartisan way to deliver the basin plan. To have the new government tear it up and destroy regional communities is epitomising of what this government has done to regional and rural Australia.

Not only have they taken away the Murray Darling Basin Plan, ripping another 450 gigalitres of water—that's the Sydney Harbour, every year, that is taken away. That's less food and fibre, 26 per cent less production, which means supply goes down and your prices go up at the checkout. They've also taken away more than $7 billion that was put aside for water infrastructure. The member for Riverina, as the infrastructure minister, put it aside for Urannah Dam and a new swamp dam in Wyangala. It was all about giving us the tools that we need to produce food and fibre to drive down the prices that people are experiencing now. The competition minister sits across from me right now—I even tried to work with him in a bipartisan way, giving him insight into competition reform and how we actually do it. I even gave him the offer to bring forward every review. We could see that the supermarkets were not just doing farmers over but they were doing consumers over. He sat on his hands and didn't even get the ACCC involved when cattle prices went down by 60 per cent at the farm gate but came down only eight per cent at the checkout. They didn't think there was a problem. They didn't think that someone might be hurt. Oh no, I'm sorry—

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Excuse me. I am not deaf. You do not need to yell at me.

Photo of David LittleproudDavid Littleproud (Maranoa, National Party, Shadow Minister for Agriculture) Share this | | Hansard source

I am not yelling at you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Well, you are.

Photo of David LittleproudDavid Littleproud (Maranoa, National Party, Shadow Minister for Agriculture) Share this | | Hansard source

May I say, the opportunity has been there. Unfortunately, we worked in a bipartisan way, but, no, they knew best. They knew best and turned their backs.

But it gets worse. Next week this government is going to bring in a fresh food tax. They are going to charge Australian farmers a tax to pay for the biosecurity costs of their foreign competitors bringing their product into this country, putting it on the shelves and competing against them. In what parallel universe would a government impose a tax on its own farmers to pay for their foreign competitors to bring their products into this country and put them on a shelf to compete against them? We don't get that treatment when we export to other countries. We pay for the export risks that we pose when we take our products into those export markets. But, no, not here in Australia. In its wisdom, this government is saying, 'No, farmers, you can pay for those biosecurity costs of your foreign competitors. That's the way that we work here.'

That's going to be passed on to every Australian consumer. Farmers cannot absorb another tax by this government—and that's after the government have already put on a truckie tax. I understand that the road user charge has been increased by over 16½ per cent since this government came into effect. That means that it costs more to get a product from a paddock to your plate. That means Australians are paying more. When you look at what's driving inflation, the drivers of inflation are your energy bill and your food bill. This government is only driving up the food bill because of the way in which and the disdain with which they have treated regional and rural Australia and our farmers.

When you look at the supply chains, the reason the supply chains are in trouble is that they abolished the agriculture visa. That was the first step, and now we have the skills commissioner saying, 'Lo and behold, we might need an ag visa to be able to have the labour supply to pick the product that gets onto your plates.'

Then they made the PALM scheme so unworkable that farmers now have to pay for workers to lie on the couch and do nothing when it's raining. They haven't heard of this thing called rain and that, when it rains, no-one works and that you pay somebody who's not working? No, not this government, because it's being run ideologically off the AWU and everyone else.

Australians are paying more because of the breach of faith of this government with regional and rural Australia. If regional and rural Australia hurts, all of Australia hurts.

4:12 pm

Photo of Ged KearneyGed Kearney (Cooper, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care) Share this | | Hansard source

When you get to the end of your life, you like to look back and you like to think, 'Did I make a difference? Have I left a legacy? Am I going to leave the world in a slightly better place?' For some people it might be that they've raised their kids well. They might have volunteered on the footy team. They might have put in where other people haven't. They might have left this place with something they've invented to make life better.

We, here in this place, are given the absolutely amazing privilege of changing the laws of this land to make this life better. We have an amazing privilege: to do our very best to change people's lives, to make people's lives something better so they get opportunity.

I've got to say that I have never, ever been so proud or honoured to have that privilege in this place as I have in the last few months. It's a great honour to be an assistant minister in the Albanese Labor government, where I know that we have made such a significant difference to people's lives right around Australia.

I've spent the last few months in my own electorate of Cooper, in Melbourne's inner north, as well as travelling to the Gold Coast, to rural Victoria and right across the country to Western Australia. It's great, because I get to see firsthand the changes that this government has made and the positive impacts that the Labor government is having. I get the opportunity to listen to Australians from all walks of life. They have been telling us that they are doing it tough. They have been telling us that they are under pressure. They've been telling us that their budgets are being stretched to the limit. It's such a great opportunity for me and the rest of us in this government to tell them that we are doing everything in our power to deal with these issues that have cropped up for them in their everyday lives.

They know, and we explained to them, that we have had a once-in-100-years pandemic. There are wars across the world. There are supply-chain disruptions. There has been a global inflation spike. These are things that nobody could predict would happen—things that have popped up in the time that we have been in government. They know now, because we have responded so well, that they can trust us like they have never trusted a Liberal-National government.

The Liberal-National government didn't care about working people. They didn't act on climate change. In fact, they didn't act to help working people. They actively wanted to keep wages low. We heard that from one of their own previous ministers. There was no investment in Medicare. Bulk-billing rates were in absolute freefall. They left behind billions of dollars of debt with virtually nothing to show for it and an absolute deficit of trust in Australian politics and government. The one most responsible for that was their previous Prime Minister.

The people I speak to know this. They know this because they voted for change. They wanted them, on that side of the House, out. Workers, women, people who use our health system, aged-care residents, climate activists, teachers, aged-care workers: they knew they could not trust that government to act in their own interests, and they voted them out. They voted a government in that cares—a Labor government—and they have put their trust in us to do the right thing. I am so proud that they now can have absolute faith that we will always act in their interests. I am proud to say that we have a prime minister who can sleep soundly and sleep straight in bed, unlike many of those that we have seen who are probably struggling—they are admitting so on a TV show that we've been watching over the last few weeks. But they have absolute proof now that they can trust the Prime Minister to respond to changes that are happening in the world and to do the right thing.

They wanted trust restored in Australian politics after lies and deceit from a prime minister who secretly swore himself into multiple ministries. They voted for higher pay after wages had stagnated for years. They voted for better working conditions after those opposite attacked their rights time and time again. They voted to strengthen Medicare and cheaper medicines. They voted for action on climate change and for respect and a better deal for women, who were told they were lucky they didn't get shot when they tried to tell the Prime Minister what they wanted. They voted for a government they could trust to do the right thing and a government that makes hard decisions like they did about changing the stage 3 tax cuts, because they know this government can be trusted to act in their interests.

4:17 pm

Photo of Dan TehanDan Tehan (Wannon, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) Share this | | Hansard source

Talk about leaving a legacy! What a shameful legacy this government is leaving this country already, with a prime minister who looked the Australian people in the eye and lied to them ahead of an election. That is the legacy that is being left by this government. It wasn't just about stage 3 tax cuts. It wasn't just about the Murray-Darling Basin. It wasn't just about the $275 that your electricity bill was going to go down by. It was also when it came to immigration.

Let's have a look at what the Prime Minister said before the last election: 'Albo rules out migrant intake.' 'Anthony Albanese has signalled Labor won't back the return of mass immigration.' In the papers: 'Albo: mass migration is out.' This is the Prime Minister before the last election. This is the shadow minister for home affairs before the last election: 'Do we want migrants to return in the same numbers? The answer is no.' That is the Prime Minister and his opposition before the last election.

What is the reality now? What did the Prime Minister say before the election and what is the reality now? There has been record Australian migration and no effort whatsoever to make sure that housing is in pace with it, no effort to make sure that rents and rent availability is in pace with it, no effort to make sure that congestion doesn't occur by boosting infrastructure and no effort to put more doctors out into communities.

The Prime Minister said one thing before the last election, and, lo and behold, he's done the complete opposite after the election. What has that meant? It's meant that we now have a housing crisis in this country that's making housing unaffordable, particularly for young Australians, and we now have a rental crisis in this country. We've seen rental availability at the lowest level ever in this country. We have young people trying to get rental accommodation turning up, and there are 60 people competing with them for one single room. Try seeing a doctor at the moment. Try and get a GP right across this country. Can you get one? No, you can't.

What about congestion? We saw infrastructure spending cut by this government once they got into office. Instead of those suburbs where we're seeing pressure on growth getting the trains that they need and getting the freeways and the roads that they need built, that's been cut. What is this doing to the lives of everyday Australians? It's making it worse. It's making it harder. It's putting pressure on inflation, which means it's putting pressure on the cost of living, which means it's putting pressure on interest rates, and it's making their lives harder.

What is it based on? It's based on the Prime Minister saying one thing before the last election and doing the complete opposite afterwards. The shameful thing we've seen this week is an arrogant, out-of-touch prime minister come in here and not be apologetic for it. He hasn't been apologetic for saying one thing before an election and doing completely the opposite afterwards.

I'll say this to all those opposite: you might think that you're short-term game is going to help you when it comes to Dunkley, but we and the Australian people are going to remind you of every single broken promise this Prime Minister has made during his time in government. We are going to keep reminding the Australian people that this Prime Minister said one thing before the election on numerous occasions and has done the exact opposite when he's been in power. (Time expired)

4:22 pm

Photo of Lisa ChestersLisa Chesters (Bendigo, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

It's been quite an extraordinary week, and I can't really get past why the opposition is so angry. What we've got is a prime minister who said—on the stage 3 tax cuts that were legislated by those opposite, which disproportionately favoured people earning over $180,000—that, because of the economic circumstances and because of the pressure that low- and middle-income earners were under, we should now share that with them. What the Prime Minister has done, and what our government has done, is, rather than all of us getting a massive tax cut, share that with the people who care for our children, the people who clean this parliament, the people who cut our hair and the people who sell us our groceries at the supermarket. They are outraged because the Prime Minister has done the right thing for low- and middle-income earners.

Do they not understand that everybody else out there who are low- and middle-income earners—who are the people cleaning our homes, who are cleaning this parliament, who are doing the lawns, who are making sure that our children are cared for and who are making sure that our mothers and grandmothers are cared for in aged care—are going: 'So he's decided to share the tax cut with all of us? He's a pretty good bloke for doing that.' That's what you're doing each and every time that you say it's a broken promise. You're reminding all of those low- and middle-income earners that the Prime Minister had the courage to do what was right because the economic circumstances have changed. That is what this government does. We evolve with the times and go, 'What needs to change?', unlike a previous opposition leader who became Prime Minister.

Let's just remember what Tony Abbott did. He stood up on the eve of the 2013 election and said there would be no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no cuts to the ABC and the SBS, no changes to the pension. That is what he said. And what did he do the moment he became Prime Minister, in his first budget? He slashed education funding. Our public schools have fallen so far behind we now have an education minister working to fix the funding gap in our public schools. We have a health system we are trying to resurrect and rebuild. The previous government cut many billions of dollars from our healthcare system and then tried to impose a GP tax on people who were turning up at public hospitals. This was from a government who said in opposition there would be no cuts to health. Let's not even talk about the cuts to the SBS and the ABC, so much so that the SBS said it was a direct correlation to their funding cuts that they had to introduce paid advertising. Then there were the broken promises on pensions and the cuts that they had to pensions. It is this government, when coming to office, who said, 'We have to turn this around.'

Maybe it is just a bit of self-interest for those opposite because they were banking on that big tax cut that they and their mates were going to get. We are asking them to think of everybody else. Think of all the people in all your communities—rural, regional, women—who will benefit from these changes. This is good tax policy. It is restoring integrity to our tax system. It is dealing with bracket creep. The opposition's version of dealing with bracket creep is to abolish the brackets. That is not dealing with bracket creep; that is abolishing brackets and flattening our tax system. That is not good tax policy. That would see all the benefit going to those at the top end of town and not flowing through.

Our tax reform is making sure that every Australian taxpayer gets a tax cut. Those opposite will still get a very generous tax cut. But we are now saying you need to share that tax cut with your own staff, with your own people in your community, with the person who is serving the food, working at the petrol station, caring for your kids, caring for your parents. Be fair, do the right thing. This is what a responsible government would do.

4:27 pm

Photo of Keith PittKeith Pitt (Hinkler, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I mean, the fabricator, the fibber, the storyteller, the beguiler, the cheater, the deceiver, the slicker, the trickster. This Prime Minister has broken so many promises, I am surprised he has not been diagnosed with mythomania.

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Remember standing order 90, please, member for Hinkler. I stated it at the beginning of the debate. Let's not let this slide into imputation.

Photo of Keith PittKeith Pitt (Hinkler, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker, for the guidance. Mythomania is a real condition. But look at the broken promises. This government, this Prime Minister, committed to the Australian people: that mortgage costs would go down—broken; that cost-of-living would be lower under this government—broken; that electricity prices would be lower under this government—broken; that gas would be cheaper—broken; that there would be no changes to superannuation—broken; that they wouldn't change to stage 3 tax cuts—broken; and that there would be no changes to negative gearing and death duties. Well, they haven't broken that one yet but there is still time, and I can tell you why. Because in today's Australian, 'go get negative gearing' the ALP is told—go get negative gearing. How do we know they are lining up to break this promise? Quite simply, because in 2019 it was their policy. In fact, it was costed. If you look up the Parliamentary Budget Office, here it is: the Australian Labor Party's costed policy for negative gearing changes and that will raise, even from then, almost $3 billion in additional taxes. So this government cannot tell the truth. They have broken that list of promises. It is costing the Australian people an absolute fortune.

We keep hearing about Nemesis. I can tell you where the nemesis is. He sits behind the Prime Minister; it is the Treasurer. He was quoted as saying 'heads, I win; tails, he loses' if the Prime Minister breaks his promise on stage 3 tax reforms and that is what has happened. So, Prime Minister, the person you need to look for is behind you. He is the one who wants your job, he is the one who wants you out of business and he is the one who is doing everything possible to destroy your reputation and make you look bad before the Australian people. I've got to tell you: he's doing a pretty good job of that but not as the Treasurer.