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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 308


Mr FALINSKI (Mackellar) (16:06): We as a nation believe that Australians should have a go and, where they need to, lend a hand. We have always believed in helping people who may have fallen on hard times to get back on their feet. As a representation of our community, this government believes that as well. But we must also accept that our welfare system is fundamentally broken. If you are on welfare and stay there, you will be subject to higher crime rates, lower income, higher health risks, lower lifespan, higher rates of family break-up and lower educational outcomes. Everything that should be up in our welfare system is down, and everything that should be down is up. And the chances of passing these outcomes on to your children are so improbably high that all of us should hang our heads in shame that we allow it to continue.

The Turnbull government, is determined to break the cycle of poverty that has been part of the welfare system for decades. I know those opposite would never, ever chase down a personal debt. I know that their generosity is renowned throughout the land. For example, there is the party of Mark Latham—a man who came into this parliament and said that it is appalling that politicians should enjoy such generous superannuation, but the minute he left he did not have one problem claiming his taxpayer funded, CPI adjusted, ongoing superannuation payments that allow him to be a perpetual commentator on Sky News. Or Eddie Obeid. Indeed, the member for Barton comes from that part of the Labor Party. Who can forget the generosity of Eddie, with coalmines being handed out wherever they need to be. Or Ian Macdonald. There was not a friend in the union movement that Ian could not find a coalmine for.

The problem is that at the back of this endless welfare system are hardworking Australian families who just want to get ahead. There is no coalmine, there is no Eddie and there is no Macca. No, it is hardworking Australians. When they have debt, they have to pay that debt, and they wonder what we are doing by spending $170 billion a year making things worse for the people on welfare. This is probably why the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, when they held positions of responsibility, introduced data-matching and the online system, because they knew that this was the right thing to do. No wonder the member for Barton is hedging her bets, telling The Australian that she cannot guarantee that in every case of the people she has put forward they are innocent. The member for Barton's generosity with other people's money is inexhaustible. Let us be clear: many of the people who the member for Barton has highlighted as being disadvantaged by this data-matching system owe over $10,000 to Australian taxpayers—that is, hardworking families. These are resources that could be directed to helping those who need help, helping the people who have genuinely fallen on hard times or paying back Labor's debt that now stands at $430 billion. But that is what you get from Labor: higher taxes, higher spending and higher debt—a war on hardworking Australian families who just want to get ahead. That is why they betrayed them in government and will do so again if ever given the opportunity.

Let's face it: Labor says one thing but does the opposite. Who will ever forget their concern about superannuants with $1.6 billion in their accounts having to pay tax? Who can forget? Members of my community were coming to me saying, 'But Labor's going to stand up for us.' They could not believe it after the election. They came and saw me and they said, 'Who can believe it? They've let us down. I was so surprised.' You have never had any credibility on these sorts of issues. I reckon that if the member for Barton owed Eddie Obeid $1 she would have paid him back $2 already.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Coulton ): I call the member for Chifley.

Mr Husic: I would like the member for Mackellar to withdraw the insinuation or the association he made during his speech. I know the member for Barton is a person of high integrity and should not be smeared in the way that the member for Mackellar did during his contribution. I ask him to withdraw.

Mr Sukkar: Mr Deputy Speaker, he did not make any accusation of that nature. He used a metaphor and he has nothing to withdraw.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I did listen to that and I do not believe that there was a need to withdraw at that time. I will remind members that, while this is a free-ranging debate, the member for Mackellar did range fairly widely and I would encourage people to stick to the topic at hand. I call the member for Mackellar.

Mr FALINSKI: Mr Deputy Speaker, if any insinuation or offence were taken by the member for Barton, I of course withdraw.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the member for Mackellar.