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Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Page: 2280

Senator BOYCE (Queensland) (15:30): I suppose I should not be surprised that Senator Singh seems to have the same issues as anybody else amongst her colleagues in getting things right—I am not quite sure how we on the coalition side of the chamber can be both defensive and on the attack at the same time. Yes, we are defensive; of course we are defensive. We are trying to defend the rights of Australians—not just the union bosses but the workers and the families as well. To suggest that we would somehow be ashamed to admit that we were going to do our damnedest to stop the government from going ahead with aspects of the minerals resource rent tax is just bizarre. Yes, we are going to tell people they will not get that tax cut and that it is not really a tax cut. A tax cut that is based on a great big new tax is a tax con. That is what this government is producing—a tax con.

For Senator Crossin to pretend to be somewhat hurt that anyone could suggest that Senator Wong is not the most brilliant financial mind in Australia is bizarre as well. We had Senator Wong suggesting yet again that there is going to be a budget surplus in 2012-13. If there is a budget surplus in the budget papers that are presented in 2012-13, it will simply be based on the smoke and mirrors that every aspect of this government's ability to undertake proper economic analysis is based on. It will be dodgy; it will be made up. This government not only have produced the four largest deficits in Australian history but have done so serially. They are serial deficit producers; it is all they can do. And now suddenly they are going to bring out a budget that is in surplus. They are saying: 'Don't worry about how we're going to do that—we just will, we can, we know how. We may have lost our 10-year costings. We may not know that not every small business in Australia is an incorporated company and therefore will not benefit from anything we are suggesting. We may not be able to get Fair Work Australia to learn how to read quickly enough to produce a report within four years. We may not even care about whether there are allegations relating to the activities of Mr Thomson, the member for Dobell, outside of the Health Services Union. And we think the wild rivers legislation in Queensland, which destroys any opportunity for Aboriginal owners and occupants of the Cape York area to undertake business or commercial activities themselves, is sensible legislation.'

Of course we have problems; of course we are defensive. We must be, to attempt to defend this country from the ravages of this government, which, in this last sitting week of the truncated parliamentary year that it has developed, is trying to rush through bill after bill, none of it fully thought through and none of it likely to survive more than five or six months. It is frightening and it is disturbing that the government continues to behave as though it actually thinks it will get a budget surplus. We even had the very bizarre procedure during question time of the government refusing our spokesman leave to table a Treasury document. It would not let us table a Treasury document. Why not? Because it might have proved that Treasurer Swan and his offsider Senator Wong are not in fact the best minds in Australia to run a government. They are only useful for running deficits—because you do not have to check on your figures to run a deficit.