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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6620


Mrs D’ATH (4:32 PM) —I am pleased to speak on this matter of public importance, although I did have to check what the matter of importance was about. We have had the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and now the Leader of the Nationals and not one of these three speakers has mentioned the cost-of-living pressures, which is actually listed as their matter of public importance. We heard the Leader of the Opposition making the statement, ‘The Australian people are not mugs.’ The opposition are trying to make comparisons and trying to identify similarities between the current Prime Minister and the previous Prime Minister of this government. The Leader of the Opposition has got one thing right: the Australian people are not mugs. They know they can expect the same thing no matter who is speaking on the opposition side, which is the same old scare campaign. They also know that Tony Abbott, the Leader of the Opposition, is the same man who applauded Work Choices, the same man who said he would introduce paid parental leave over his dead body and the same man who said, ‘You cannot trust what comes out of my mouth unless it is in writing.’ This is the man who holds himself out as the alternative Prime Minister.

I am going to talk about cost-of-living pressures. I am going to talk about what this government has done since being elected to assist families and households with cost-of-living pressures. It has increased the childcare benefit by 50 per cent, paid quarterly, to help families. The most important way of assisting with cost-of-living pressures is to support jobs in this country. That is what this government has done and will continue to do. We supported jobs through the global financial crisis. We made sure that over 70 per cent of the stimulus that was put forward to invest in public infrastructure in this country went to supporting jobs—infrastructure both small and large, including in our schools.

Let us talk about what losing a job does to cost-of-living pressures. If the Leader of the Opposition got into government and scrapped the building of halls, libraries and trade training centres, what does he think that would do to jobs and cost-of-living pressures? If he scrapped the roads to recovery program and the jobs that are created in fixing those roads and building new roads, what would that do to cost-of-living pressures? The opposition, when in government, squandered the revenue that they got from the resources sector. They did not invest in infrastructure, they did not invest in education and not only did they not invest in health but also they pulled money out of the health system. The opposition’s idea of assisting or supporting cost-of-living pressures would be to, when in government, reintroduce individual agreements. They will once again rip away unfair dismissal protections for workers. They think that creating job insecurity is somehow going to improve cost-of-living pressures. This is the gospel truth from the Leader of the Opposition. Another way they are going to help cost-of-living pressures is to scrap the National Broadband Network, which will create tens of thousands of jobs in this country.

What this government has done is provided three lots of tax cuts—including tax cuts coming on 1 July—for households, increased the pension with the largest increase we have seen since the pension was introduced, created additional support payments for carers and provided affordable housing and new social housing in our suburbs across this country. That is how this government is supporting households; that is how this government is dealing with cost-of-living pressures. This government, with its leadership, its executives and its members, will go forward and continue to support families, pensioners and householders across this country at a time when they need support because of cost-of-living pressures. That is what this government is about: supporting jobs and looking after families and those most in need in our community—unlike those on the other side.


The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms S Bird)—Order! The time allotted for this discussion has now expired.