Senate debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Answers To Questions

3:50 pm

Photo of Gerard RennickGerard Rennick (Queensland, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

We are in a cost-of-living crisis. Right now in this country, inflation is up six per cent. It's rising by six per cent every year, and we've got wage growth at four per cent. That means our hardworking Australians are losing two per cent every year. They are going backwards. That high inflation rate has been caused by a reckless energy policy and an ideology where renewables are apparently going to save the planet. The bird choppers, the bat choppers—all of that ridiculous stuff is somehow going to save the planet. That is hurting people where it counts the most—in their hip pocket—and I say, 'Shame on the Labor government.'

Then we've got the Labor government adding more fuel to the fire, by having a rapid increase in immigration of over 400,000 people a year. That is driving up demand in the economy which is adding more to inflation which therefore means the RBA has to increase interest rates. So we've got the double whammy when it comes to living expenses of either higher rents or higher interest rates. We're coming off that fixed mortgage cliff now where people are rolling out of 2.8 per cent loans into five and 5½ per cent loans. That is hurting people, and we cannot sustain that.

How did Labor deal with that at the recent budget? They didn't keep the low-income tax offset going. In the years under the coalition government, Josh Frydenberg, the former Treasurer, gave a low-income tax offset which was worth $2,000 a year to low-income earners. The Treasurer, and member for Rankin, Jim Chalmers, got rid of the low-income tax offset. If you really cared about the workers, as the Minister for Finance claimed in Senate estimates, you would be giving that rebate to the hardest working Australians of all—those people who get out of bed every day and put their nose to the grindstone. They're lucky to make ends meet. Under the coalition government, we acknowledged the hard work of those low-income earners, but the first thing the Labor government did in their budget was to increase taxes on the people who could afford it least of all, our low-income earners. I say, 'Shame on you, Labor.'

To top it all off, we now find out that, rather than having greater airline competition in this country so that people can go around and travel, Labor are protecting their mates at the big end of town—Virgin, Qantas and Alan Joyce and his $10 million bonuses—so that Qantas would give the Voice advocates free flights and the Prime Minister's son access to the captain's lounge.

Question agreed to.


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