Senate debates

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Matters of Urgency


4:51 pm

David Shoebridge (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

This government's priorities are cooked. Labor is giving a $244 billion tax cut largely to the wealthy and to billionaires, but less than $2 a day to people on JobSeeker. Does that sound fair? These tax cuts are grotesque and they are self-serving. Members in this parliament are proposing to give themselves a $9,000-plus tax cut and billionaires a $9,000-a-year tax cut. No wonder the coalition senators are here supporting it: '$9,000 sounds nice, thanks very much!'

Meanwhile, I met nurses just last week who are being forced to work 41 shifts in 28 days because there is not enough money in our public hospital system. I have met students who are sick from the black mould toxicity in the substandard housing that they are struggling to pay rent for, and it's still costing 50 per cent of their income. And we have Labor and the coalition saying they want to give billionaires and politicians a $9,000 tax cut. It's disgraceful.

This parliament should be fighting for the many, not the few, but right now this government is dishing out favours to billionaires and big corporations. They talk about a living crisis. They say they're standing with workers, but on the really big decisions—the ones that are the $244 billion-dollar decisions, which are make or break on fairness—they say they can't do anything about it, that they agreed to it a few years ago and they're just stuck. Well, here is a message to the Labor government: you are now in government. You are not stuck with the coalition's rotten tax agenda. Have the courage to stand up and reverse these tax cuts.

Cancelling these tax cuts means that we can get dental and mental care into Medicare. Think about the changes that would make to have dental in Medicare. It is outrageous that in this country one of the key indicators of your class and your wealth is the state of your teeth. The only reason that is, and the only reason that will be next year and the year after, is that Labor doesn't have the courage to reverse these outrageous billionaire focused tax cuts.

We can make child care free, and we can pay early childhood educators and all teachers a fair wage, but we can't do that while we had out $244 billion in tax cuts to billionaires and politicians and those who already have enough. This parliament should be standing alongside those early childhood educators who are out there today, taking action for better pay and conditions so they can look after our kids and our grandkids. That's what they want to do. And I give a shoutout to the United Workers Union and every single childcare worker. Stand strong! The Greens are with you and we'll keep fighting for you until we reverse these tax cuts and give you the pay and conditions you deserve. Childcare educators are striking today, and they are calling for this parliament to put children before profit.

That's what Labor needs to do: put people before profit. Put nurses, midwives and healthcare workers before profit. Put teachers and students before profit. Put First Nations people across this country before profit. That's who this parliament should be for—not the billionaires, who don't need another tax break. It should be for the millions of Australians who are desperate for help while their wages are stuck and expenses are skyrocketing. This parliament should be standing up for young people, for people on Centrelink, for people with disabilities, for First Nations people, for people without a home, for people renting and unable to even think about owning a home in this country.

But these people will be worse off under Labor's tax cut. This parliament should be for every single one of you who needs our help. To all of you I say this: the Greens believe this parliament should be for you and will keep fighting to make good on that promise. (Time expired)


No comments