Thursday, 5 December 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. After more than six years in government, the coalition is presiding over the worst wages growth since records began, almost two million Australians looking for work or for more work, household spending growing at its slowest pace since the GFC, declines in real living standards and the first labour productivity decline on record. Which of these measures demonstrates that the Morrison government has any economic plan at all?
Repeating something that is wrong again and again doesn't make it come true. So let me just say again that real wages growth today is stronger than it was under the Labor Party. Let me tell you something else: in the last quarter, the disposable income of Australians increased by 2½ per cent. That's more than five per cent over the last year, the highest for many, many years. Under our government, the economy is growing more strongly than it would have if the Australian people had chosen $387 billion in higher taxes instead.
Our economy in Australia continues to grow. More than 1.4 million new jobs have been created during our period in government. Employment growth consistently is stronger than the long-term average, and that means more Australians are in work than ever before, more Australians are paying lower personal income tax and the proportion of working-age Australians on welfare is at a 30-year low. Our economy continues to grows while a number of other economies are actually shrinking. We're maintaining a AAA rated economy. The Labor Party, of course, seems to completely ignore the fact that there are obvious global economic headwinds. They completely ignore that there are obvious challenges in our domestic economy, principally related to the absolutely devastating drought in large parts of Australia. The Labor Party thinks that that doesn't matter. Our economy, in all of the circumstances, is performing quite well. It's performing much better than it would have if the Australian people had chosen a change of government at the last election.
Yesterday's national accounts revealed annual GDP growth remains below trend, with a 'one' in front of it. The private domestic economy went backwards in the quarter and over the last year, with dwelling and business investment continuing to fall. Which of these outcomes demonstrates that the Morrison government has any economic plan at all?
What the September quarter national accounts showed is that economic growth in Australia has actually increased. Annual economic growth in the September quarter increased. Is the Labor Party now saying growth increasing is a bad thing? Our economy continues to grow at a time when other economies around the world are actually shrinking. They, like us, are facing global economic headwinds, but Australia is dealing with them comparatively better than other economies around the world.
I say it again: the Australian people understand very well that the economy is performing better than it would have if it had been hit by Labor's socialist, antibusiness, higher-taxing politics-of-envy agenda, which would have made our economy weaker and would have led to lower employment growth, higher unemployment and lower wages over time.
Australians are rightly worried about the economy, but the Morrison government continues to pretend that there is no problem. When will the government finally produce a plan to get the economy moving?
The Morrison government absolutely does not pretend that we are not facing challenges. Of course we are facing challenges! We've been very open and transparent, in the lead-up to the election and since, that the Australian economy is facing global economic headwinds and downside risks in the domestic economy. That's pretty obvious. That's actually documented in our budget papers and we have made that very clear all the way through.
But we're also optimistic about the future on the back of our plan to build a stronger economy and to create more jobs involving lower taxes—in particular, lower income taxes for hardworking families around Australia, and lower taxes for business.
Senator Keneally is yawning! She's obviously very bored about the fact that we are building a stronger economy!
Well, if that wasn't a yawn I don't know how she yawns! Under our government we are working very hard to put Australia and Australians on the best possible economic foundation trajectory for the future. (Time expired)