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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 2547


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:17): Isn't it pathetic? Senator Abetz coming here, trying to lecture Labor about good economics. A man who was in here cutting wages for workers for his whole career: attacking working people, attacking penalty rates and looking after the big end of town. And he continues to look after the big end of town—$17 billion of tax cuts to the banks. That's the priority for Senator Abetz and that's the priority for the coalition.

Let's talk about previous treasurers. Treasurer Swan, the Treasurer who actually brought us through the global financial crisis. Treasurer Swan, who actually did the timely, targeted and temporary stimulus that was recognised around the world as one of the best, if not the best, responses—the best response!—to the global financial crisis ever.

Senator Birmingham: Are you voting for him, Douggie?

Senator CAMERON: And we've got people sitting across here, like Senator Birmingham, yap-yap-yapping away. Senator Birmingham actually came here with some progressive politics, arguing that he was a progressive. And what did we see? Someone who cuts funds for education and who has no capacity to look after the skills and needs of the Australian workforce—a failed minister and a failed politician, only interested in looking after the big end of town.

Senator Birmingham: That's crap, Douggie, and you know it!

Senator CAMERON: You're only interested in looking after your mates, with over $2½ million to the former Family First senator on a rorted position, put forward by you. Don't you lecture us about looking after public money! Don't you lecture us about the Labor Party's position! Wayne Swan saved 115,000 jobs in this country.

You never hear the coalition talk about the global financial crisis. They try to pretend that it never happened! Well, there was a global financial crisis, and it was Wayne Swan that brought us through that global financial crisis. It was Paul Keating who turned this place around, turned this country around, opened this country up and modernised the economy—something that the coalition will never do. All the coalition want to do is hand $80 billion in tax cuts to big business and argue that that is their position to create jobs. It is absolute nonsense. Not even the Business Council of Australia, who are going to be the recipients of this, can tell a Senate committee where the jobs would come from and where the increase in wages would come from.

Nowhere in the world has this economic rationalist approach actually worked. Trickle-down economics doesn't work. Trickle-down economics is simply a myth and it's a myth that this mob, this rabble of a government, this deteriorating government and this government that's only interested in fighting each other, not looking after education and health for working people in this country. It's a desperate government, a pathetic government—so that's their answer. Look at their economic position. They started off under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and it was austerity budgets and cutting pensions. They actually wanted to change the indexation on the pension that would have cost pensioners $80 a week over a decade. They cut funding for health in Indigenous communities. They actually wanted young people in this country to have no income for six months if they were unemployed.

They are a pathetic lot, an absolutely pathetic government and a government whose economic position was they would increase the GST. That lasted about a week. Then their next economic position was to say to the states that they could then tax. That lasted a few days. And their latest one is trickle-down economics. Because the banks look after this mob; they are running a protection racket for the banks. They are pathetic. (Time expired)