Senate debates

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


3:27 pm

Photo of Zed SeseljaZed Seselja (ACT, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters) Share this | Hansard source

I, like Senator Canavan, am Catholic, but I don't share any of his Catholic guilt when I look across at the squirming of some of our Labor senators, whether it's Senator Chisholm or Senator Brown, as they seek to defend the absurd and ludicrous and delusional lines that are being fed to them by the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, and the Shadow Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, who had quite the cracking performance on Insiders, it must be said, which I'll come to. They've been fed these lines, and the lines are effectively this—and we heard both of them from the two Labor senators' contributions. The first line is that we're in a recession and it's all the government's fault and there isn't this global crisis that's occurring that's seen an economic hit that is 45 times the size of the global financial crisis. The first part of their delusional message which they're being asked to trot out is: 'Nothing to see here. There's no crisis. This is the Morrison recession.' This is what Jim Chalmers was saying on Insiderson the weekend,but I'll come back to that.

They also talk about debt. They want to talk about debt because (1) they want people to pretend there's nothing going on here and there's no reason why the government has been forced into this position, and (2) they also have this absurd double standard where they come in here and they tell us we're not spending enough on JobSeeker, we're not spending enough on JobKeeper, on all of these programs they want us to spend more on, yet they then complain about the debt. You can't have it both ways. David Speers, to his credit, put this to the Shadow Treasurer on Sunday. He said:

… here, I mean you have been critical about too much debt being racked up and yet at the same time you want the government to spend more on JobKeeper as you've pointed out, JobSeeker - aged care, social housing, universities, child care. Can you just clear up, do you want the government to spend more or less?

That's a very good question for the Labor Party as they flail around looking for a rationale for their being, as they flail around looking for a critique of this budget.

Those opposite can't pretend we don't have this global crisis, which is 45 times the economic hit of the global financial crisis. They can't pretend we haven't seen this downturn right around the world. The fact is that, relatively speaking, as difficult as it has been, Australia has done much better than most. That's something we can be proud of, whilst all the while saying these are tough times and they take extraordinary measures to respond to them. Those opposite can't come in here and say 'spend more, spend more, spend more' and then complain about the fact there is more debt. That's going to happen, unless Labor's plan is to rapidly ramp up taxes, as they've done in the past and as they took to the last election. That was the plan. Jim Chalmers was on Insiders and again failed to distance himself from the negative gearing policy and the franking credits policy, and that still remains Labor's policy. Is that the way those opposite are going to lower debt? Will it be by taxing retirees? Will it be by taxing homeowners and renters, as they took to the last election, or are they going to get real and realise we're dealing with a significant crisis?

In this budget, the government has sought to respond to the circumstances that we find ourselves in, with a focus on getting Australians back into jobs. I, for one, am very proud and I know my constituents are very happy about the tax cuts coming their way: for average-income earners, around $2,500 per person and around $5,000 per household. Five thousand dollars per household is $100 per week. Some people said it won't all be spent. It may not all be spent, but a significant amount of it will be spent. Some of it will be saved, and that will support households as well, as they make their decisions going forward—as they make the decision to pay off their mortgage.

I'm really proud the government has been able to deliver local infrastructure projects, and I point here in the ACT to our massive injection to expand the Tuggeranong Parkway, the Molonglo River bridge and the Monaro Highway. These are important projects, and we're seeing them right around the country delivered by this government. When it comes to this budget, we are absolutely, with a laser-like focus, focused on getting young people back into work. That's why giving credit to employers who hire young people is so critical. We don't want to see a generation lost, as we saw under Labor's recession in the early nineties. We're going to continue to do this job. This is a budget that is very, very important— (Time expired)


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