Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022



1:42 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I acknowledge Senator Griff's comments. It is a great privilege to be able to serve in this place. We do the best we can with what we have. I think our staff really are a vital part of that, so I want to acknowledge that. Thank you for your service to the Australian parliament, Senator Griff.

However, I do want to give the government a basting because you would think the government should be able to deliver a budget. There are people sitting here in the chamber today. The parliament is open. We've got the public back here. They had to put petrol in their cars. I bet they were screaming as they were paying through the nose for petrol. Last night they might have been lulled into a false sense of confidence in this government that they are going to get a little bit of relief at the bowser. Pay attention because it might not come through for two weeks. What sorts of mechanisms have they got in place to make sure it's actually going to get to us and help us in our hip pockets? Watch more and more closely, because, not too far along after May—once we hit September—that's gone. They won't be talking about that. They will say that they're there for you, because that's what they say all of the time, but the reality is that this government is blind to the reality of what Australians are really going through.

The budget is, as the shadow Treasurer described it, a panicked, desperate and tapped-out budget by a panicked, desperate and tapped-out government. They have embedded in this budget $3 billion in cuts that they can't explain—$3 billion that they've hidden, as if we're all too stupid to notice. That is the way this government operates. It tries to pull the wool over Australians' eyes. We cannot allow that to happen again. This government and its budget should be wholly rejected at the next election, which will be on 14 May or 21 May. We cannot afford another decade of a government unable to manage Australia's finances and economy.