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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4277


Mr GOSLING (Solomon) (09:46): I rise to speak in support of the honourable member for McMahon's amendments to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Personal Income Tax Plan) Bill 2018, and I do so because he's done a lot of hard work. Labor's done the hard work—the member for McMahon in particular—and as a result we are going to be able to deliver bigger, better and fairer tax cuts for 10 million working Australians. Ten million working Australians will be better off under Labor's plan for a bigger, better income tax to support lower- and middle-income people, including, of course, all those Australian families, like those in my electorate of Solomon, in Darwin and Palmerston.

I was in the chamber yesterday evening to listen to the debate, and I listened to both sides. The last speaker last night, the member for Fowler, spoke incredibly well about the difference that we have with those opposite when it comes to priorities—and budgets are about priorities. He also spoke about how workers in his electorate are going to be much better off. I concur with everything he said—in particular, the fact that Labor's bigger and better income tax plan is going to be of enormous advantage for low- and middle-income people, and it's going to be really good for those families struggling with bills.

I contrast that with what one of those opposite said in the debate last night. I don't mean to single him out, but the member for Dunkley mentioned Wayne, a hairdresser in the member's electorate. He spoke about how Wayne would be $530 better off because he's paid about 50 grand per annum. But that's under the Liberal plan, which we support the first tranche of. Wayne, a hairdresser in the member's electorate, will be $530 better off per annum, but under Labor Wayne would be $928 better off. That's almost double. We were here in the chamber last night listening to those opposite trying to tell us that an $80 billion tax cut to corporate Australia is better for hairdressers like Wayne. Our bigger, better income tax would mean that Wayne would have hundreds of extra dollars in his pocket, and that money would circulate back through the economy, because that's what happens when you invest in lower and middle-income working Australians.

Seventy-six per cent of taxpayers in my electorate of Solomon are going to be better off under our bigger and better income tax plan—76 per cent. That's extremely helpful for those families struggling with the cost of living, who would be $928 better off. If you're a young person working in my electorate, in Darwin or Palmerston, you might even be able to afford a one-way airfare from Darwin down to Melbourne. We're trying to work on the airlines and get them to perhaps stop gouging us as much as they are, and we've started a Fair Fares campaign to that effect. But you can see how helpful $928 would be to someone who's living in a regional or rural area of Australia.

I don't know how the National Party sleeps at night. I've got no idea. How can you stand by when $17 billion is going to be given to the banks who are ripping off your farmers, the farmers that you say that you represent? Seventeen billion dollars to the banks! Then they take us back through time and say the GFC never happened. Well, the taxpayers of Australia supported the banks and guaranteed the banks during the GFC, and what was the thanks that the Australian taxpayers got for that? Rip-offs and rorts until this Prime Minister was forced, because the banks asked him, to start a royal commission. This Prime Minister was forced to start a royal commission, so now we're starting to see, through that royal commission, what behaviours are happening. Those are the priorities of those opposite. They want to give $17 billion in corporate tax cuts to the banks. Where is that money better spent? We believe in educating Australians and putting it into our schools. That's what we believe. That's what our priorities are on this side.

Seventy-six per cent of taxpayers in Solomon are going to be better off. A glassie on Mitchell Street—Mitchell Street is this great strip in Darwin, with pubs and restaurants—who is going around being friendly to patrons, having a great time and picking up glasses is going to be $770 better off under Labor than they are now. We don't have as many backpackers as we used to have, because unfortunately those opposite brought in a backpacker tax that scared a lot of them away, but because we have such an amazing tourism experience in Darwin I'm happy to say that the backpackers are coming back. The glassies will be better off. A grade 4 bus driver taking his mates from a work site back home safely will be $508 better off under our bigger and better income tax plan. A senior constable working in the soon-to-be-built Palmerston police station will be $928 better off under Labor. Those opposite talk a lot about law and order. We're supporting the people who serve us in the community and enforce the law. We're supporting them by giving them an income tax cut that is almost double the one from those opposite. As for first responders, a fully qualified paramedic will be $665 better off. People who are out there saving lives on the front line are the ones that we support, not the big banks. The big banks are making record profits. They'll be all right. They're shutting branches and making record profits. They don't need a $17 billion tax cut. Those opposite believe they do. The policeman on the beat, the paramedic and the senior firefighter fighting fires and putting his or her life at risk will be $928 better off under our plan. That's where our priorities are.

An intern at the new hospital at Palmerston—a project supported by both sides of politics—will be $928 better off under Labor. A teacher on $65,000 a year will also be $928 better off. A principal will also get income tax assistance through our plan. A principal at one of our fantastic schools in Solomon will still be better off—$140 better off—under Labor. And a junior leader with the Australian Army, based in Darwin, who may have done a couple of tours overseas serving our country, will be better off. Those opposite want to give a $17 billion tax handout—some tax relief—to those corporate banks that are struggling! We want to give it to the junior army leader in my electorate, because they're a young guy or girl who is serving our country, may have kids and may be struggling with the costs of living. That's who we want to support.

Budgets are all about priorities. On average, nurses at Royal Darwin Hospital will be $928 better off under Labor. The reason that I have gone through some examples of working Australians in my electorate and pointed out how they'll be better off under our bigger and better income tax plan is that it proves where our priorities are, and that is on lower and middle income Australians—those people who are serving us, those people who are working in retail. I listened to the government speakers in a completely objective way. I listened to what they said and tried to see if it fitted with the actions in the budget. The conclusion that any reasonable person would come to is that their priorities are aimed at the top end of town, not at lower and middle-income people. They're out of touch. The member for Barker said that our side of politics was talking down trickle-down economics. Yes, we were. Yes, we do. We do talk down trickle-down economics, because it was discredited in the eighties and it's never worked in one country, ever. If there is one, point it out to me. Yes, we are talking down trickle-down economics. The idea that those opposite want you to believe, that they're going to help out corporate Australia when corporate Australia is having record profits—it's a good thing it's having record profits, but does it need an $80 billion handout at the expense of working Australians like the people in my electorate? We say our priorities are with lower and middle income working Australians. We need real reform of the banking system, not a $17 billion handout to the banks.

We have done the hard work to deliver these bigger, better and fairer tax cuts. I commend the shadow Treasurer, the shadow finance minister and all those who are supporting hardworking Australians. They're making the tough decisions because we want our priorities in government to support working Australians, and that means putting money back into our schools and into our hospitals. I hope that those listening can see, with a couple of clear examples, that this budget is a con job. It fails the fairness test at every level.

Pensioners are also losing out. In the time remaining, I want those listening to put their own fairness test over this. Pensioners are losing out. They are losing $14 a fortnight. We should be caring for those who cared for us. We should be supporting those who grew us up, who built this country. And they're taking money off pensioners to give to banks? What does that say about the priorities of those opposite? I don't know whether many of those opposite did manual labour in their life. I'm a former soldier; I worked hard. My body has paid a bit of a price for it, but I tell you what, in my electorate there are people building our city. They're working hard, physically hard work, in the tropics. And they say: 'Why would a Prime Minister make us work until we're 70? Why would he increase the pension age so that I've got to work until I'm 70? I've been paying taxes my whole working life. I've been building this nation, building our community, raising a family. Why would he want me to work until I'm 70?' They don't see it as fair.

Those opposite claim to be the superior financial managers. Net debt's doubled to more than $350 billion under the stewardship of those opposite. They like to pretend there wasn't a global financial crisis when this side of politics supported working Australians and kept us out of a recession. Those opposite like to believe that never happened, but I can tell you it did. The member for Lilley and those that were in this place at the time worked to support working Australians. That's what the member for Maribyrnong is doing right now. That is the reason our Leader of the Opposition has put forward with his team—the member for McMahon and others—these amendments that I support strongly. I support the shadow Treasurer because we have our priorities right on this side of the chamber—that is, a bigger and better income tax plan for working Australians, almost double that of those opposite. Those opposite need to have a hard look at themselves and bring fairness back to this country.