Senate debates

Monday, 25 June 2012


Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2012-2013, Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2012-2013, Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2012-2013; Second Reading

9:10 pm

Photo of Doug CameronDoug Cameron (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you very much, Acting Deputy President, but I don't think I need too much protection from this rabble. The situation is that they had Senator Joyce, the failed shadow finance minister—the Liberals got you, mate. They understood how bad you were. They sacked you fairly quickly. They knew that any semblance of economic credibility they may have would go down the tube if you continued as the shadow finance spokesperson.

The situation with the coalition was simple—tax cut and spend, tax cut and spend, and massive structural deficit. We have to deal with that, and we will produce the biggest single fiscal turnaround in living memory of government. We will return the budget to surplus on time and as promised. We will spread the benefits of the boom: a $1.8 billion increase in the family tax benefit part A for eligible families, commencing 1 July 2013; a $1.1 billion new supplementary allowance for the unemployed, students and parents with young children on income support, with the first payment commencing March 2013; an extra $2.1 billion over five years on a new schoolkids bonus paid directly to eligible recipients; and from 1 July 2012, more than a tripling of the tax-free threshold, from $6,000 to $18,200, freeing up one million Australians from the need to lodge a tax return. This is how you spread the benefits of the boom—something that the coalition could never contemplate and could never understand when they were in government. There were 11½ years of tax cut and spend, 11½ years of fiscal profligacy and 11½ years of John Howard standing over Peter Costello and forcing him into ignominious retreat on anything that was like a proper fiscal strategy for this country. The coalition have got a history of bad economic management in this country. We can go back to John Howard as Treasurer, which was an absolute disaster. Then we moved from John Howard to Peter Costello—absolutely hopeless.


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