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Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Page: 9427

Mrs ANDREWS (McPherson) (16:39): Sometime this morning—and I am not sure exactly what time it was—the member for McMahon wrote to Madam Speaker notifying her of a matter of public importance. Sometime between him writing and despatching that letter and about four o'clock this afternoon those opposite appear to have lost interest in this matter of public importance. When the member for Blair, their fourth speaker, rose to his feet, there were only two Labor members in this House—the member for Blair himself and the member for Greenway.

I think this seriously brings into question the genuineness of this matter of public importance that has been raised by those in opposition. I believe that they should consider their position in relation to raising future matters of public importance, if the way that they are going to deal with this is by having limited members in the chamber to put the positions.

This indicates loudly and clearly that this is not a real matter of public importance for those opposite. What this is is an opportunity for them to endeavour to raise cheap political points. This matter of public importance has not been raised out of any genuineness at all to debate this matter or out of any real concern about the issues that they have raised. This is all about those opposite trying to portray the government as nasty and out to get people. It is a confected narrative. This is all about their disgraceful, sneering class warfare tactics—which are about the only thing that Labor has left. They certainly do not have any solutions. The Leader of the Opposition proved that very clearly when he stood up in his budget reply speech and offered not one single alternative to address the challenges that our government, our nation and our economy must face. And there are serious challenges that our nation must face—not the least of which is the economic mess that Labor left behind.

It is astounding, and we should never ever forget, that in less than six years Labor saddled us with five successive budget deficits totalling $191 billion and racked up a further $123 billion in deficits into the future. The nation went from a position where we had money in the bank to one where we now pay over $12 billion each year on interest payments alone, just on the debt Labor racked up in those six short years. That is the reality and that is what we have to fix. If we do not act now, in 10 years time we will be paying an incredible $32 billion a year just in interest payments. That is more than we currently spend on aged care, schools and child care combined. Under Labor's 'let's not change a thing', head-in-the-sand, fingers-in-the-ears approach, we would continue racking up debt and wasting obscene amounts of money every single year in interest payments. Our government did not create this mess, but we are accepting the responsibility for fixing it.

When you look at how Labor got us into the mess, you get a shining example with the minerals resource rent tax—or the mining tax as it is known. The superannuation changes Labor refer to in this debate are a result of repealing promises they made that were to be funded from the profits of the mining tax. The only problem was that the profits did not flow. The tax was an absolute shocker. The original mining tax was expected to raise $49.4 billion over five years, and on that basis Labor made all sorts of promises, including changes to superannuation. It was then altered and forecast to raise $29.5 billion over the five years. However, it was then expected to raise just $668.5 million over the forward estimates to 2017-18.

The previous government had an appalling record and it has been left to this government to try to fix the mess. It is really about time that those opposite recognised that the situation that this government finds itself in is entirely their fault and that they need to start working actively to fix their mistakes.