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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6279

Budget


Mr CHEESEMAN (Corangamite) (14:07): My question is to the Treasurer. With the budget bills going through their second reading stage this morning, how does this bring the government a step closer to spreading the benefits of the mining boom to help families make ends meet?


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:07): I thank the member for his question, because I think everybody on this side of the House was proud to stand up in this House this morning and support the 'fair go' budget—very proud to support a budget that was coming back to surplus, very proud to support a budget which is going to spread the benefits of the boom to every corner of our country and certainly very proud to make room in a very tight budget to assist those with disabilities. So everybody on this side of the House is very proud of a budget which will grow our economy and spread the benefits to every corner of our country.

We know those opposite are so reckless and so destructive that all they ever want to do is talk our economy down. What we will do on this side of the House is build up our economy and build up our country. We have confidence in the future of this country. Those on that side of the House, led by this negative opposition leader, just want to talk the economy down every day—day in, day out.

There are substantial benefits in the budget to assist families in Australia: a $5 billion package over five years of additional support for low- and middle-income families in this community. We are very proud of that, and particularly the additional assistance with the costs of sending kids to school. There is also the assistance in terms of the clean energy package, going out to something like three million pensioners—we are very proud of that—and additional assistance to 1.6 million families and, on top of that, tripling the tax-free threshold. That is going to make an enormous difference to many people on low incomes, giving a tax cut to something like seven million Australians on low and middle incomes. Then, of course, there is the assistance for business—the loss carry-back and, of course, the assistance in terms of the instant asset write-off, which will go to something like 2.7 million small businesses.

So we on this side of the House were very proud to stand up and support that assistance for families and business when the Leader of the Opposition was simply running away from it—running away from the families of Australia in terms of the assistance to families to educate their kids, and running away from the assistance to small business. Fair dinkum! You should have seen it in here this morning. It was as if the Three Stooges were back in play, stumbling and bumbling around the corner of the House, and they were joined by a fourth. Shemp over there joined the Three Stooges this morning, running away from the people of Australia and running away from cost-of-living assistance. He is all opposition and no leadership.


Mr CHEESEMAN (Corangamite) (14:10): Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. The Treasurer has outlined how the budget is helping spread the benefits of the mining boom. Can he explain how this will help local communities like mine and what would be the consequences of not providing this assistance?


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:10): I thank the member for that supplementary question, because there will be significant assistance to all of the small businesses in the electorate of Corangamite, and of course there will be significant assistance to families—first of all in terms of the clean energy package and then additional assistance for families. There will be assistance to those families with children at school, something like 1.3 million families, and, as I said before, tax cuts for seven million low- and middle-income earners in our community.

Of course, when it comes to each and every one of those, what does the Leader of the Opposition say? He says no. He says no to assistance for families with the costs of education. He says no to assistance for small business, particularly in terms of the instant asset write-off. Of course, we read in the West Australian today that his colleagues are getting very sick of him saying no. This is what one of his colleagues said today:

… people are so fed up with the current situation, they are starting to blame Tony for the decline in public discourse …

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Treasurer will return to the question.

Mr SWAN: That would be an understatement. Of course, this is what Senator Joyce had to say about the approach of the Leader of the Opposition today.

HOST: Do you think he’s seen as too negative and too aggressive at the moment?

JOYCE: At times that can be the case …

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Treasurer will return to the question before the chair.

Mr SWAN: Well, ain't that the case?