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Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Page: 7808

Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (16:26): You have heard it from the honourable member for Isaacs and there has been a lot of discussion on this issue, none of which the Australian people are much interested in hearing politicians talk about.

Today I want to talk to people like the member for Hunter and the member for Robertson, who are in the chamber. If I could have the indulgence of those in the gallery and the truck drivers on the lonely roads across Australia, whom I know listen to our addresses, today I am going to talk not to you but to those on the other side of the House.

I want to talk about history and I will start with the history now. As the member for Hunter knows, I am the only person in this House who has been defeated twice in elections held on tax. When Paul Keating stood at the dispatch box and I was sitting in the seat right in front of where I am now, he leaned across and said, 'Son, you're gone.' I was. It was not because I had not worked hard as a member, not because I was not highly talented—

Mr Ian Macfarlane: No.

Mr BROADBENT: No. It was because we had a tax debate and the member for Hotham—and I know he is watching right now—propagated and managed the mother of all scare campaigns ever to be launched in this country against a good taxation change for the benefit of the community, called the GST. It was the mother of all scare campaigns, run by the member for Hotham. By the way, a member who just left the chamber, Alan Griffin, now the member for Bruce, came in on that campaign, which I was thrown out on, in 1993. He is still here. He remembers what happened.

He also saw the amazing scare campaign of 1998. What was it on? It was on tax. What was the tax? A GST. How many seats did the government of the day lose during the tax debate? Nineteen seats. I am saying to the backbench of the Labor Party right now: there is a huge issue. The leaders in your party got you into this mess. Have a look at the percentages by which most of your leadership, except for your Treasurer, hold their seats and ask whether they will be here after the next election. The answer is: yes, they will be here. Will you be here? No, you will not be here. Not just on the current trends—I am talking about when you are arguing to us about a major scare campaign on a tax, having been in that place where you are today, holding your seat, wondering whether you are going to make it, wondering whether you are going to have a wage into the future. It has been hard to get there; it is hard to hold. I am talking to every member of your backbench in this government now, and those that have been around for a while know exactly what I am talking about here. You have one way out of this.

Ms O'Neill: You can serve the national interest.

Mr BROADBENT: You can talk about serving the national interest, you can talk about doing the right thing for the environment, but now I talk about the reality and the truth. The truth is that, in relation to this tax, the Productivity Commission, commissioned by the government, asked to return their findings early because they had not much to discover. What they did discover was that there is no country in the whole world that is going to introduce a tax like this—not one country in the whole world: read the Productivity Commission report. It was not a positive report for the tax. It did not put Australia in a good light. It did not say that we should be leading the world. It did not say that we should be putting our workers at disadvantage; we should not be trading green jobs overseas. The member for Hunter knows exactly what I am talking about. There will be green jobs, all right. Do you know where they will be? They will be in China, India and Indonesia. They will not be here for our workers. Is that understood? There will be green jobs. Perhaps the truck drivers across the nation now are hearing this: you will not be carting the stuff that you are carting today, because it will be carted around in China, where the pollution will be greater than in this country.

What I am putting to you is that there is a very strong argument against this tax, whatever the politics of it are. But I will come back and say to those members of parliament who are sitting in this place today, who have a desire for the betterment of the nation, who are concerned about their kids, who are concerned about their future, whose husbands would like to have a job, whose wives would like to have a job, whose kids want a job, whose partners want a job, that we have a nation led by a leader that says, 'I am prepared to trade off those jobs and those opportunities in this country and trade them into another country,' for heaven's sake. I thought the first responsibility of a Prime Minister of this nation was for the health and wellbeing of its people, its economy and its defence.

Ms O'Neill: Now and into the future.

Mr BROADBENT: Now and into the future. Thank you, member for Robertson. That is not what is being shown by this Prime Minister.

You know what you have to do. You know that you are completely shackled to this Prime Minister through this carbon tax, about which she has already deceived the Australian people for base political reasons in the middle of an election campaign by saying: 'I am not going to have this tax. Do not worry anybody; we are not going to have a tax.' That is what she was really saying. She was told to by her minders to say, 'We can't have a tax.'

Mrs Mirabella: She lied.

Mr BROADBENT: She lied, in that instance. She made a statement to the Australian people in the middle of an election campaign when they were about to vote. She said: 'Have confidence in me. It is all right. I won't put a new tax on you.' Who would be a young person these days, as compared to the generations that have gone before us, when they have the property taxes, when they have the GST, which our parents did not have, and when they have all the other taxes, which the Treasurer, coming into the room, knows all about? It is hard to get ahead these days because of those taxes.

I say to the Labor government of the day, because of my experience in 1993 of being thrown out and my experience in 1998 of being thrown out: it is fine if you have got a big margin, but if you have not got a big margin, you are likely to lose your seat in a taxation election campaign, and that is what is about to happen to many of you in the Labor Party at the next election. It may happen to you anyway—we work hard to get rid of you. But this will go all the way up to the member for Hunter. If you are under that, you are gone; if you have special interests in your electorate, you are gone. If you come from Geelong or the Illawarra or La Trobe Valley and you are a Labor representative, you are gone. What I learned was, no matter how many times I reassured my community that we could compensate them for the GST, the Labor Party sent out one more scare campaign with Alan Griffin's name on it and I was dead again. It was simply a scare campaign.

You have a carbuncle, and that carbuncle is recognisable to you and every other Aust­ralian. I am not criticising the office of Prime Minister. I am saying your party has a carbuncle and that carbuncle is Julia Gillard, who is locked into that tax. What you need to do is rip that carbuncle out of your party and get rid of it.

An opposition member: Like a boil, it needs to be lanced.

Mr BROADBENT: I do not need words put into my mouth; it is hard enough getting this out as it is. It is a carbuncle that you have to remove. If you do not remove it, the Australian people are going to remove it for you, along with many of you.

Take it from my experience: it is not a good feeling to go down once, it is not a good feeling to go down twice, it is not a good feeling to go down three times and it is not a good feeling to lose four times, two of them on tax. Just remember that. It is taxation: you will have to know every detail of it. I have lived it; I have worked it. It is very, very hard and it is near impossible to win. I challenge you that you will not be able to win this argument. The member for McEwen has just come in. Mate, I have been there once or twice in this place and the rest of the people do not think much of you when you come back. Coming back is hard.