Senate debates

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers


3:32 pm

Photo of Mehreen FaruqiMehreen Faruqi (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Finance (Senator Gallagher) to a question without notice asked by Senator Rice today relating to poverty and the budget.

Labor's budget yesterday was a betrayal to the millions who were hoping not to be left behind. We are in the midst of a crushing cost-of-living crisis, a painful housing and rental crisis, a soaring student debt crisis and a climate crisis. Yet the Treasurer's speech didn't even mention climate change, and Labor is spending more on fossil fuel subsidies than on climate change. People are having to make impossible choices between heating or eating, fuel or medicine, paying rent or paying off student debt.

Given how tough things are, the choices in this budget should have been easy for Labor. It should have been an easy choice to raise support payments like JobSeeker and Youth Allowance above the poverty line. It should have been an easy choice to make early childhood education and care free. It should have been an easy choice to freeze rent increases. It should have been an easy choice to wipe student debt, or at least stop three million Australians from being hit with a 7.1 per cent increase to their student debt come 1 June. Instead, Labor has not even done the bare minimum. Those on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and Austudy will see a daily increase of only $2.85, and the increase to Commonwealth rent assistance is as little as $1.12 a day. So many will remain in poverty at Labor's choosing.

All Labor cares about is bragging rights to a budget surplus. People doing it tough don't care about your meaningless surplus. People don't care that you banked billions in the kitty while they skip meals and live in cars. All the surplus demonstrates is that there was more money sitting there that could have helped people doing it tough, but you chose not to use it. Labor's budget leaves people in poverty while the big corporations and the wealthy win. Shame on you.

Question agreed to.


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