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Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Page: 6095

WYATT ROY (Longman) (16:07): It is interesting to follow the bizarre lecturing of the member for Moreton on politicians doing anything to seize power. Perhaps he should spend some more time speaking to the Prime Minister or the member for Griffith, his neighbour in Queensland. But I rise to talk about what is becoming a matter of urgency: the need to install a new government of Australia that will put an end to the chaos and confusion that have seeped into everyday life, sapping confidence and dulling spirits. We are so much better than what the Labor Party has determined for us over the last 5½ years, and that is at the crux of this sorry story of the federal Labor government.

On our side of this place, we believe all Australians should have the right to self-determination along the precious journey that is their life. That is freedom to choose their path, not have it charted by the government. We believe that a hand-up will always be better than a handout; we believe in the idea that equality of opportunity is the great leveller in our society, not subsidy; and we believe in the principle that if you work hard you should be fairly rewarded for that hard work, not penalised. Indeed, we are bound by the idea that liberalism is the path to fairness and the knowledge that, conversely, enforced equality never liberates anybody.

Our nation deserves and is now hungering for a strong, steady, reliable government to fuel and reinvigorate our economy and return it to prosperity. To make that happen, we need to unlock the potential of the Australian people by removing government from their lives. On 14 September, the Australian people will have an important choice. On one side is a divided and dysfunctional Labor Party that is only focused on itself. As the member for Swan has often said to me, the Labor Party wants the Australian people to re-elect it on another dubious promise, not its performance. On the other side is a coalition that has positive plans for real solutions for all Australians.

We are ready to govern. We have the experience, the know-how and the attitude, and we have 12 rock-solid layers of policy priority. First, the coalition will build a strong, diversified economy by lowering taxes and delivering more jobs, higher real incomes and better services for all Australians. We will then secure this prosperity by reining in the budget and cutting the waste and mismanagement of Labor. The coalition are proven prudent financial managers who will keep interest rates as low as possible and safeguard the Australian economy from economic shocks. We will help families get ahead by abolishing the carbon tax, the world's largest carbon tax, which has proved a springboard for electricity and gas prices. By reducing taxes, regulations and onerous reporting requirements, we will help small businesses grow and expand to employ more Australians. We will cut red and green tape by $1 billion every single year. We will create even stronger job growth by building a diversified five-pillar economy, generating one million new jobs over the next five years and two million jobs within 10 years.

We are committed to building better and more modern roads and infrastructure to get things moving, with a special emphasis on reducing the bottlenecks on our gridlocked major roads and highways. We will deliver better services, including health services, by increasing cooperation with the states and territories and by putting local communities in charge of improving the performance of hospitals. Similarly, we will deliver better education by giving communities, parents and principals carriage in the running of their local schools. On the environment, we will take direct action to reduce carbon emissions within Australia, not overseas, as well as establishing a 15,000-strong standing green army to clean up the environment. We will deliver stronger borders when the boats are stopped with proven tough measures. Finally, our united and experienced team will deliver a strong and stable government set on restoring confidence and accountability. We are the team that will not only rebuild the economy but renew the bonds of trust between the Australian people and the parliament.

Perhaps it is because I am a product of generation Y or perhaps it is because, like my colleagues, I care about the future, but I am alert to the fact that Australians can no longer turn a blind eye to what is a brewing coalescence of intergenerational issues. We are now a land uniquely placed in the heart of a globalised world, between the dominant West and a rising Asia. While this changed landscape will assert its own influences, the next generation will face additional changes such as the ageing of our population. There will be a greater burden on a government drawing from a smaller revenue base. When the baby boomer generation fully leave the workforce, they will take with them not only their skills but their taxpaying capacity. While the preceding generation saw 2½ million Australians enter retirement, we are now on the brink of four million Australians edging towards retirement, about to draw on age pensions, pharmaceutical benefits and other assistance from government.

As a nation, it is absolutely critical that we meet this challenge from a position of strength. But instead, with the approach to this watershed challenge ticking down, this Labor government has chosen to pursue its own agenda and to turn inward and concentrate on its own political survival ahead of listening to real Australians—those hardworking Australians simply trying to make their way in life. In the shadow of an epoch of intergenerational challenge, this government has embarked on a sustained preoccupation with incompetency, broken promises and spin. Labor promised that there would be no carbon tax, yet we have a carbon tax. For this deceit, I am sorry to say that we are about to pay more. From 1 July, struggling businesses and family budgets will be hit with a five per cent rise in the carbon tax. It is another cruel blow for an already hamstrung economy, adding to cost-of-living pressures and placing jobs at risk. Under this federal Labor government, electricity prices have risen by 94 per cent nationwide and gas prices have increased by 62 per cent. On 1 July they will go up again.

A few days ago, I received an email from a local businessman who was closing his small to medium enterprise as a result of this government's taxes and regulation. He said:

I have conceded. That's it; I'm out.

While his story is especially tragic, the thrust of it has been echoed by many hard-working local business owners and managers who I have met over recent months.

One shop owner in Burpengary told me he was coughing up an extra $1,300 a month in carbon tax bills. Meanwhile, small business across the region has been damaged further by this government's overregulation and inflexibility in the workplace. A popular local coffee shop owner told me he wanted to expand and hire more staff, but rising overheads and reams of paperwork were a serious barrier.

In 5½ years, the Rudd-Gillard—now possibly Rudd—government has created 21,000 new regulations and 39 new or increased taxes. If a strong and stable government—a coalition government—are elected in September, we will keep income taxes cuts and fortnightly pension and benefit increases. So, that is tax cuts without a carbon tax, and, yes, we will cut red and green tape by at least $1 billion every year to give small business the chance to breathe, grow and thrive again.

While this Labor government has turned a $20 billion surplus under the Howard government into nearly $300 billion of debt, the next coalition government will draw only on its political pedigree and inheritance. It was Sir Robert Menzies who said:

We are a tax - reduction party.

Menzies understood, as the coalition does today, that:

… real tax reductions would be the best of all incentives to increased effort, earnings and production.

Australians require a government that will scrap unnecessary taxes, cut wasteful spending and reduce the tax burden on business. We need a government that is guided by the discipline that governments do not have any money of their own, just the people's money held in trust. We need a government that recognises that it may not have a solution to every problem, but, all too often, it is the problem. We need a government that does fewer things, but does them better.

This is the territory of the coalition: a government of hope, reward and opportunity. On 14 September, the could not be clearer.