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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 2279


Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (15:25): What we have heard this afternoon is some outrageous claims by Senator Joyce and Senator Nash against Minister Penny Wong and our Treasurer, Wayne Swan. These are two members of cabinet, two people with regard to Finance and Treasury, who, thanks to their fiscal responsibility, have been able today to deliver pension increases to Australian pensioners, something that the opposition did not support. They did not support it in 2009 when we started the most historical reform to pensions ever brought into this parliament. They did not support it then, they do not support it now and they do not support support for low-income Australians—no, of course not. That is why yesterday we saw in this place the opposition to the minerals resource rent tax, which will ensure that we spread the opportunities for all Australians in this country. No, they did not support that, because they want to support lining the pockets of some of the most wealthy people in this country—that is, miners. They do not stand up for pensioners, unlike us on this side of the house and unlike the work of Minister Penny Wong and that of Treasurer Wayne Swan, who have both been able to deliver the pension increase that we have been able to give to Australian pensioners today, an historical increase over the life of this government.

On that side of the Senate they instead choose to be defensive and on the attack, because they know they have dug a hole and they cannot get out of it and that hole has a price tag of $70 billion attached to it. Why? Because they do not use the proper costings; they use catering companies to formulate the costings for their policies. We on this side of the Senate use Treasury costings which ensure that all of our policies are costed, as they should be, unlike the opposition who have now dug themselves into such a hole they cannot get out of it. It is no surprise, because we know that the last time the coalition were in government they utterly failed to use the good economic times for investment in Australia's future. They failed to invest in health infrastructure and they failed to invest in education, and that is in stark contrast with what this Labor government is doing through the minerals resource rent tax. In fact, what we are doing is ensuring that we are using the extraordinary profits that mining companies make from the resources, which belong to all Australians, to create a better country, a better future for all Australians.

We have talked in this place about the various ways in which that will be achieved: through increasing superannuation and through giving tax cuts to small business and the like to ensure that this is about making and managing our prosperity for all Australians. The government here is ensuring that all Australians have a fair share of our resources. That is the Labor way that is based on the value of fairness, something that the coalition have no understanding of because their values are completely stark compared with ours. Their values are about increasing the profits of some of the most wealthy miners in this country. We voted to ensure that we can fund more superannuation for all Australians because we know that we have an ageing population. We know that we need to look forward to the future in this country for all working Australians so that your average working 30-year-old in Australia now will have, on the basis of their average weekly earnings, an increase of around $100,000 more in superannuation, which is much needed as they go into retirement. I look forward to opposition senators going back to their constituents after we rise from this place at the end of this week and telling them that they are going to vote against a tax cut for small business. On top of that, they are going to increase company tax if they wish to support their own paid parental leave scheme that they currently have as their core coalition policy. So tax breaks for small business and cutting the company tax rate are supported by this government but opposed by the opposition. That is outrageous and unbelievable coming from the Liberal Party, who claim they are the party that supports small business and tax cuts for small business. It is unbelievable to hear that in this place. (Time expired)