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Monday, 15 November 2010
Page: 1169

Senator KROGER (3:26 PM) —Thank you, Mr Deputy President, and may I join Senator Sterle in welcoming you back. In rising to take note of answers you have to hand it to those on the other side of this chamber who really abuse this chamber to try to rewrite history. I would like to remind Senator Sterle of the facts in relation to the stimulus packages of his government and remind him that we actually did support the first stimulus package. Our concern in supporting the second stimulus package was the fact that it was four times the size and introduced before we saw the effect of that first stimulus package and how it would filter through the system. But it does not ever stop Senator Sterle and those on the other side who want to rewrite history according to their own whims and fancies.

Minister Wong stood up and talked about the lack of fiscal responsibility of those on this side of the chamber. I would put to Minister Wong that it is what you do in government that counts. I will be very happy to stand up any day and hold up our record under the Howard-Costello government and demonstrate what fiscal responsibility is all about—unlike what we have seen on your side: this scandalous, extraordinary, flagrant waste of hard earned taxpayers’ money. You on that side have no idea what fiscal responsibility actually means. It is a definition that we are very happy to provide to you. Australians look to their governments for effective and strong management. Your answer to that, as Senator Adams has already raised, is to roll out programs like the BER, which has wasted billions of dollars. There were programs like the insulation pink batts scheme under Garrett. He was sidelined; he was not doing too well. But we still have not fixed it.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Kroger, you must refer to people in the other place by their proper names.

Senator KROGER —Minister Garrett. Thank you, Mr Deputy President. I was getting overwhelmed by the scandalous waste by particular ministers, so I lost my sense of etiquette at the time. My apologies. What needs to be pointed out is that this scandalous waste of money is the very thing that is increasingly putting inflationary pressure on the cost of living. The energy cost that Senator Adams has already raised is but one example. She is absolutely right in saying that the carbon tax that was totally ruled out before the last election and has now been ruled in will actually put upward pressure on electricity prices. All cost of living price rises are a threat.

Now the Prime Minister has formed—to put it in her words—a formal alliance with the Greens so that when they whistle we know that she will be beholden. First up, we have the carbon tax committee, the committee for believers, but there are many, many other policies that they are interested in bringing into this place that will dramatically affect the cost of living and have a significant impact. There are policies such as the introduction of congestion taxes and increasing the tariff on four-wheel drives by 10 per cent. We have already covered the resource super profits tax in this place many times, where they would like to see a 50 per cent tax rate. We have seen the slashing of education support and funding for Catholic and independent schools. There is the abolition of the private health insurance rebate. We are seeing the taxing of family trusts. There is also the review of the GST and the implementation of that. There are many, many policies that directly impact the cost of living, and it is these that we should be very much aware of. The government want to look at changing the taxation system from work based taxes to taxes on natural resources. (Time expired)

Question agreed to.