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Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Page: 6365

Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (15:17): My conscience is absolutely clear, as is the conscience of every single government member, about the negotiated outcome that passed the Senate yesterday. I am very happy to look the 8.5 million workers in the eye and say: 'We got rid of the carbon tax. This government got rid of the carbon tax. We are ensuring that our higher education system will be sustainable for your grandchildren to be able to achieve and attend.' There are a whole range of measures that the government have brought forward that will mean the 8.5 million workers of Australia will be better off both now and in their retirement.

What we see today, about a year later, is so much denial in this place. There has been a year of promises delivered by the Abbott-Truss government. Yesterday we saw once again another promise being delivered. It has been a year of strong budgetary reforms that deal with the economic malaise left by the ALP-Greens government, yet the denial continues. A year is quite a long time actually, FYI.

The majority of voters, the majority of Australians, voted for the platform of the Liberal-National Party at the last election. I know it hurts a lot—and it must because it is a year later and we are still hearing denial—but that resounding, convincing result at the last election was based on commitments by our side of politics to: one, repeal the carbon tax—check; two, stop the boats—check; three, get the budget back on track—and, hello, yesterday's result starts to do that in the long term; and, four, repeal the mining tax. You would have thought everyone would have been on board for repealing that tax because it actually raised no money. Despite your best attempt at arithmetic, the innumeracy and illogical perspective of the ALP government resulted in a tax that could not raise a brass razoo. In fact, it actually cost us money. It hurts most because the negotiation yesterday ensured that our track back to surplus remains focussed going forward. We will save over $50 billion over the next decade, and that has to hurt.

The low-income superannuation guarantee is money in the pay packet. Senator Lundy in her question spoke about a worker on $40,000 a year. I know that a worker on $40,000 a year would rather put the $83 a month that this actually represents toward their kids' excursions, because you do not have a lot of disposable income when you are on $40,000 a year. You may want to put that amount on your mortgage so you can access equity in your house. We know that the best form of retirement savings for most people is owning their own home. If you are on $40,000 a year it is pretty tough to make those mortgage repayments.

Let us not forget the ALP's track record on focusing on the retirement savings of Australians. They cut $3.3 billion and they increased taxes on superannuation by $9 billion. Ken Henry and Bill Shorten conceded that this issue would affect people's wages. A slower path to 12 per cent means more money in people's pockets right now, and that is exactly what low-income Australians need. The ALP sells it as a cut but, like so much of the ALP's rhetoric, that is so unlike the Australian people's conversation, because Australian people do not spend money before they get it. They actually do not plan what they are going to do with it before it is guaranteed and in their pocket. That is so unlike the ALP's approach.

In terms of meeting our commitments, the government were very up-front—and people still voted for us—that we would abolish this measure, and we will come 1 July 2017. We will revisit incentives for lower-income earners once the budget is back in strong surplus. In terms of the income support bonus, the government was up-front at the last election that we would abolish this measure, as it is funded by a tax that does not raise any money.

We are keeping our promises. Start backing the Australian people's vote. (Time expired)