Senate debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Matters of Public Importance

Dunkley By-Election

4:40 pm

Photo of Linda ReynoldsLinda Reynolds (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I too rise to speak on this motion. I've been listening carefully to the contributions of colleagues and I'm just appalled but not shocked at the contempt those opposite have for the people of Dunkley. The people of Dunkley are very clear. They have elected Nathan Conroy three times as their local mayor because he understands them and he has been delivering for them.

The electors in Dunkley are no more fools than the electors in Western Australia. They know what is happening to their family budget. They know what has happened under this government in less than two years. Let me share with you what the electors in Dunkley absolutely know. In the last 18 months, their personal income tax has risen by 27 per cent, and headline inflation remains at more than 1.6 above the midpoint of the RBA's target band. For the electors in Dunkley that means that food, housing, insurance and health and education expenses are all growing faster than the headline inflation rate. That means they are paying more, particularly when you think that real wages, despite what those opposite say, are going backwards under the Labor Party.

What does this actually mean for the voters in Dunkley? It means that over the past 18 months real net disposable income has fallen by over 8.6 per cent for the average income earner in Dunkley. What does this mean? It's actually a decline in take-home pay for the voters in Dunkley of $8,000 a year. At a time when their income tax is going up and their cost of living is skyrocketing, people with an average mortgage are now paying $24,000 more than they were before Labor came to government.

The voters in Dunkley are not stupid, as those opposite seem to think. They know exactly what you have done to their household budgets, what you have done to their mortgages, what you have done to their cost of living. Food is up nine per cent, housing is up 12 per cent, electricity is up 20 per cent, insurance is up by 22 per cent and petrol is up by 27 per cent. Those opposite think they can spin their way through this by-election, but let me tell you what: you absolutely will not. Your bad decisions and wrong priorities are absolutely smashing family budgets—and now the genius policymakers on the other side of the chamber in government are deciding to tax the family vehicle!

I know that in Dunkley, just like in my home state of Western Australia, tradies and families have SUVs, four-wheel drives and utes. For the tradies in Dunkley who want to buy a Toyota LandCruiser for work, they will be paying $25,000 more. If they want to buy a Ford Ranger, they will be paying $17,000 more—and the costs go on and on.

As Senator Hume said yesterday, our candidate for Dunkley, Nathan Conroy, embodies the spirit of Dunkley—a dedication to community service and also to resilience. His backstory is the same as that of so many of the residents of Dunkley. He came from a very humble background in Scotland. He married a local girl, and they settled down and raised their family in Frankston South. The voters in Frankston, in Dunkley, know what they have in Nathan Conroy, and that is a candidate who will stand up for them, who understands their pain under this government and who understands the pressures that they have each and every day in getting through, because in less than two years those opposite have smashed Australian families financially in a way we have not seen probably since the Second World War. Shame on you all!


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