26 March 2014

Labor’s warped Budget priorities


How extraordinary for the Labor Party to come into the chamber with yet another MPI claiming that this government has the wrong priorities and that in some way we are not living up to the promises that were made. It takes a certain amount of gall for the Australian Labor Party to come in here and say: 'Don't trust the Abbott government. They're not delivering on what they said.' For goodness sake, this is coming from the Labor Party who famously, people will recall, promised there would be 'no carbon tax under the government that I lead'—the immortal words of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard—and then did a deal with the devil, in terms of the Australian Greens, and introduced the world's biggest carbon tax. Then we see the hand wringing from members of the Australian Labor Party as they say, 'Our priority needs to be on things like trades training.' The Leader of the Opposition, who considers himself a union man and a friend of the worker, is always waxing lyrical about the need to invest in trades training. What did Labor say? Labor said that they were going to build 2,650 trade training centres.

WYATT ROY: How many did they build?

What a great question from the member for Longman. How many did they actually build? Instead of building 2,650, Labor unfortunately managed to get around to building only 241—around 10 per cent of what they promised they were going to do. The problem with the Labor Party is they think that everyone suffers from some kind of amnesia where, as of September last year, everyone forgot about their woeful track record, forgot about all the broken promises, forgot about Labor's projections of surpluses and forgot about the double drop-off. Remember Labor were going to end the double drop-off. Labor were going to build I think 226 childcare centres, but in reality they achieved virtually nil—I think it was about 10.

A government member interjecting—

Yes, remember Fuelwatch and GroceryWatch. The Australian Labor Party said, 'We'll put downward pressure on the cost of energy with Fuelwatch,' only to then introduce a carbon tax, which of course pushes prices up across the board.

We on this side of the chamber are so fond of hearing about Labor's abysmal record with respect to GP superclinics. It always concerns me that Labor promised to build a GP superclinic in my own electorate of Moncrieff on the Gold Coast. Nicola Roxon, who was the then Minister for Health and Ageing, went on ABC radio on the Gold Coast and very solemnly said that the people on the Gold Coast could rejoice because Australia's sixth largest city was going to get its GP superclinic. Alas, like so many others and especially those in Western Australia, it was never delivered. In fact, I am not even sure they even have a block of land identified for it.

Labor's track record when it comes to the so-called delivery of social policy is appalling. Australians know that. We on this side of the chamber do not even need to convince them, because they already fundamentally know what an abject failure the Australian Labor Party were with respect to their delivery of social policy. The most important thing is that Labor's economic track record is the clearest example of abject and total failure. I cannot help but notice that those on the other side have been very fond of trying to whitewash their track record out of history. This one here is a little bit bigger so that everyone can see it. We remember Bill Shorten MP—this is his budget news—

MS MACKLIN: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. As you know, and as the member knows, there is to be no use of props.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: No. And that applies to both sides of the chamber. I remind both sides of the chamber of that. Also, the use of the word 'you' is one that I often pull both sides up on. Please, it is not me; you are talking through me to the other side. I remind the member for Moncrieff about props.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. It is not a prop, it is just the notes that I am referring to, where in large print it says:

Budget News

Bill Shorten MP

A budget surplus for a strong economy - spreading the benefits of the mining boom to all Australians.

I will table that for the benefit of the Australian Labor Party.

In addition to that we have:

Australia's economic report card.

There is a great big tick and:

Back in surplus, on time, as promised

In these uncertain global times there’s no clearer sign of a strong economy than a surplus. We’ve delivered a surplus, on time, as promised.

Again, that is from the Leader of the Opposition's newsletter and I table that as well because this is what is fundamentally wrong with Labor. Labor has no credibility.

The problem for the Australian Labor Party is that you cannot just whitewash history. Australians know that you cannot put out electorate-wide newsletters, you cannot run around on over 430 occasions and promise budget surpluses and you cannot tell people at school forums and at public forums that you have delivered a surplus if it is just not true. Labor can come in here and say, 'Well, here are the warped priorities of the Abbott government,' but the reality is that the fundamental difference between the coalition in government and the Labor Party in government comes down to this—and it was put very eloquently by the Prime Minister: 'When we were in opposition we fought hard to get Labor to keep their promises, but now when Labor is in opposition they're fighting hard to stop us from delivering on our promises.'

And that is the fundamental difference! We are a government that is about delivering. We are a government that is about implementing the reforms that we undertook to the Australian people and said we would implement. We are a government of action! A government that is about repairing the fiscal damage that was left to us by the Australian Labor Party. The only people who stand in the way of us achieving our goals, of us delivering on our commitments, of us repairing the damage that was left to us by the Australian Labor Party is none other than the Australian Labor Party.

Earlier today, down at the Press Club, the Leader of the Opposition said, 'Every budget is a window into a government's soul'. They are his words: 'Every budget is a window into a government's soul'. Well let's look at Labor's six budgets. Let's look at that window into the soul that the Australian Labor Party is all about. We know, for example, in the 2010-11 budget, Labor predicted that they would have a deficit of $40.8 billion. $40.8 billion! The actual final budget outcome was $47.5 billion. We know that in the 2010-11 budget, they said that the next year's deficit—that is the 2011-12 deficit—was going to be $13 billion. The actual deficit that year was $43.4 billion dollars. But in the 2010-11 budget, they said, 'Well, in 2012-13 we will be back in surplus, and it is going to be a billion-dollar surplus'. But the reality was that the actual final budget outcome was $18.8 billion of budget deficit.

And this was Labor's gargantuan mountain that they need to overcome. No-one is going to take Labor seriously until they hold their hands over their hearts and they say, 'Mea culpa, we betrayed the people of Australia. We delivered budget deficit after budget deficit. We have indebted generations Australians to pay back that debt for years, for decades.' They will be paying back Labor's six years of reckless spending.

We on this side of the chamber do not want to be lectured to by the Australian Labor Party. We on this side of the chamber say to Labor one clear consistent message: please, get out of our way. Respect the wishes of the Australian people. When the Australian people voted in clear majority to say, 'We don't want the world's biggest carbon tax, we don't want to export jobs overseas, we don't want to see a continuation of the debt and deficit of the last six years', respect their mandate! Free our hands through the Senate so that we can undertake the reforms that will put this nation back on the pathway to consolidating debt and paying down debt.

We do not want to pay $12 billion a year in interest. We want to put $12 billion into roads, into health, into education, into defence—that is how we want use money. We certainly do not want to see a continuation of Labor's failed approach, and they need to own up their largess, own up to their failure and get out of the way so that we can be a government gets on with delivering.