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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2774

Unclaimed Money

Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (14:25): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer inform the House how the government is restoring certainty and predictability to the savings of Australians by reforming the unclaimed money changes introduced by the former government in 2012?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:26): It is a very good question from the member for Flynn. Why? Because, when Labor was in government, they not only ran out of official money; they went after unofficial money. They went into the bank account of everyone who had not touched that bank account for three, four, five or six years and they took the accounts. They actually took the accounts. They seized the property assets of Australians who had not touched their bank accounts for a short period of time. Of course it was the member for Lilley who came up with that idea. He is still here—he is burying himself in solitaire on his computer there. I was reminded of the Herald Sun front page: 'Hands off our cash—Swan's $100m bank robbery.'

The SPEAKER: No props!

Mr HOCKEY: The problem was it was not $100 million; it was a lot more than that—it was $550 million. It was counterintuitive in a sense, because every other number he got wrong, but with this one he actually underestimated how much revenue he would get. It was $550 million, and the Labor Party seized 156,000 bank accounts. The leader of the charge was 'Balaclava Bill'. Here he is: the Leader of the Opposition—

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, on a point of order—

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat, and I would remind the Treasurer to address people by their correct titles.

Mr HOCKEY: I am being unfair to balaclavas here, I know; I withdraw. The Leader of the Opposition must be incredibly proud of that. We are reversing this bad policy decision. We are giving Australians back their bank accounts. We are ensuring that they actually have control of their own money. Australians need no longer live in fear that the Labor Party in government is going to come along and seize their Dollarmite accounts or smash their piggy banks to try and get the money that is going to be used by the Labor Party on waste like $900 cheques to dead people, pink batts that burn down homes or overpriced school halls. That is where the money was going. It was Australian savings that were being taken by the Labor Party. It just reminds us of the true saying: 'You can't trust the Labor Party with money.' If they can get their hands on your money, they will do it whichever way they can. We are reversing bad policy. We are giving Australians back their money.