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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4464


Ms HUSAR (Lindsay) (12:30): It's great to be speaking on these appropriation bills, also known as 'filibustering by a government that doesn't actually have a program or any legislation that we could be otherwise debating in here'. I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about this budget that has just been handed down by this very out of touch and arrogant government because the people in Western Sydney—we were looking forward to something in the budget that may have—

A government member: How's your citizenship?

Ms HUSAR: My citizenship is great—thanks for asking. Outrageous. I'll take that interjection, because clearly he's a constitutional expert.

But look, to support a great future for the residents of Lindsay we need a government that is actually committed to Western Sydney, not a bloke who gets on a train to go out there every election cycle and who, when he gets a difficult question, decides to get in a car and scoot back off to where he came from. This is the same fellow who went out there but wouldn't advertise where he was going to be holding his community meeting. It was all clandestine because he didn't actually want to face the people of my community. If he did, he might find out something about the real world.

This budget has been delivered and, after five years, you would think they'd had a good opportunity to take off the training wheels. Their L plates should firmly be in the back street. We should at least be riding with some P plates on. But, no, not this government, not PM Malcolm Turnbull. He defies all sense of normality when it comes to being a Prime Minister. He snubbed the Prime Minister's residence at Kirribilli; he's living in his Point Piper castle because Kirribilli is obviously not good enough for Malcolm Turnbull. And while he's over there in his Point Piper castle—not living in the real world—he's taken away crucial funding for high schools in my electorate. More than $1 million has been taken from Kingswood High School, which has about 20 per cent of Lindsay's Indigenous kids being educated there. It is also one of the lowest socioeconomic areas of my community. That school was doing marvellous things with the additional funding.

We've seen $5.7 million ripped out of Nepean Hospital. For anybody who hasn't heard me speak about that place before, I will put on record this reminder: it is the most under pressure hospital in New South Wales. Why would you take money away from a hospital that is already doing it tough? That money equates to 220 knee operations. People in Lindsay have to wait three years for a knee operation, but over in the eastern part of Sydney they only wait about 23 days for the same operation. That money is also the equivalent of 8,500 patients being seen in the emergency department.

But instead of funding hospitals and places like Kingswood High School, this bloke wants to give the big end of town an $80 billion tax cut—$17 billion of which will go to the big four banks. We haven't seen any arrests of these big banks' CEOs like we have with other royal commissions—I'm waiting for a raid on banks by the AFP to be televised. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll see that happen because these people are friends of this government, so they're not going to be served with the justice that the people who have been victims of the banks' malpractices need to see. In spite of that, these tax cuts are still going to go to the big banks; $17 billion to the big banks. They've had five years to get it right, five years to come up with something that is halfway decent, but instead they do this. It just goes to show how arrogant and out of touch they really are.

I'm incredibly disappointed in this budget and I'm disappointed on behalf of all of the residents that I work very hard to represent. It was a chance for him to set out his priorities for our nation, and to talk about the things that he wanted to change or the things that he felt needed to be improved. His priorities have failed the fairness test. It is clear that Liberals are putting everyday, hardworking Australians at the bottom of the barrel, but that is absolutely where those opposite should be put come the next election—and, indeed, in the by-elections that we have got coming up.

I was given the ultimate honour of representing my community of Lindsay in 2016, and every day since then I have seen this government fail, fail and fail again the people of my community. Being in government is all about choices and priorities. I said that during my very first speech to this parliament, and it is something that I will continue to say as long as I am here. We tax around about the same amount and we collect around about the same amount of revenue, but it is up to us as to what we spend it on. When you see spending of $80 billion going to big banks and big multinationals and not to schools and hospitals, you have got to ask yourself where their priorities lie.

They are not doing enough for what matters to everyday Australians. Locals in my community are struggling to make their pay cheques last. Wage growth, as we know and as we certainly talk about on this side, is at an all-type low. We just faced losing penalty rates and that affected a number of people in my community. Meanwhile, services are being cut left, right and centre. Labor has an alternative vision for this country. It is really great that a couple of members are here, and I do hope they spread the news far and wide. They have a clear plan to bring back the fair go to the heart of our nation.

Government members interjecting

Ms HUSAR: I can hear the interjections on the other side. If they did have a plan for a better Australia, we might actually be up here debating some of their proposed legislation rather than filibustering in Federation Chamber. Our plan is one that we can afford. When you are not handing out $80 billion in a big business tax cut, you can actually afford to deliver services. We did ask the Prime Minister and the Treasurer a number of times where this money was coming from and how much it was actually going to cost over 10 years. They had no answers. They were given opportunity after opportunity to give that answer and they refused. Now, we will reduce the taxes for low- and middle- income earners and invest in schools, hospitals, services that rely on Medicare, child care and aged care. Labor will deliver bigger, better and fairer tax cuts for 10 million Australians.

Government members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Vamvakinou ): Order! The member for O'Connor and the member for Brand will cease interjecting, and you most certainly will pay attention when the Deputy Speaker asks for your attention.

Ms HUSAR: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I wasn't sure where that member was from. I have never heard him make a contribution before, so thank you for pointing out where he has actually come from.

Labor will deliver bigger, fairer tax cuts for 10 million working Australians. Labor's tax refund for working Australians increases the tax cuts currently being offered under the government's current tax offset proposal. As our shadow Treasurer has said—I am proud to call him our shadow Treasurer—we will support the government measures that begin on 1 July this year. A Shorten Labor government will deliver bigger tax cuts from 1 July 2019, and they will be permanent. That's because we know that's how you actually help families and help the economy. With Labor, working and middle-class Australian also pay less tax because tax cuts for families are more important than an $80 billion tax giveaway to the donors of the Liberal Party. Everyone earning less than $125,000 a year will receive a bigger cut under Labor compared to the Liberals. I hear no interjections. Obviously, they know I am right. More than four million people will be better off by $398 dollars a year compared to under the Liberals.

In the health space, the Turnbull government has cut $2.8 billion from hospitals. Now, as I said before, that is just over $5 million ripped out of the Nepean Hospital, affecting the delivery of really critical health services for the people of my community. There would not be a week that goes by that I am not contacted by somebody who has needed the services of the hospital. They constantly tell me about how overworked the doctors and the nurses are, how underfunded the hospital is and how we need to do better for the residents in my community. We need a great hospital in Lindsay. We have huge disease burden rates and the hospital is just not coping.

When you cut $2.8 billion out of hospitals in favour of $80 billion for banks and multinationals in some trickle-down fantasy, this means longer wait times, longer waitlists and less doctors and nurses for every single patient. When you don't look after the health of your community—surprise, surprise—they can't go to work. Surprise, surprise, they can't get an education because they are too busy trying to get by when they are so critically unwell. What we have said to this government is they must drop their Medicare rebate freeze immediately. They must scrap the tampon tax once and for all. It is probably pretty hard to understand what that means with the low representation of women over on the other side. They also must fix the health insurance affordability crisis. We will cap the private health insurance premiums at two per cent over two years.

I already mentioned the education inadequacies and the cuts to education. We know—certainly, I know, coming out of a background as a former aspiring teacher—a great lifetime begins with a great education. We believe that it should not be determined by where you live or who your parents are. This government is cutting $17 billion from schools. Now, that is not logic that actually supports a ticket to a lifetime of good opportunity. In Lindsay, we will be $21 million a year worse off, thanks to these funding cuts. There will be $1.2 million out Cambridge Park High School, $1 million out of St Marys North Public School, $1.1 million out of Kingswood High School and $1.7 million out of schools in Emu Plains.

The schools in Lindsay are crying out for resources. I know firsthand that Cambridge Park High School, which I just referred to, was able to teach a group of year 9 boys how to read with the extra funding that they were given under the Gonski funding model, which saw more money flowing into schools. That program and others like it will not be able to come to fruition in the next few years, because of these cuts. It is incredibly galling to me to see Malcolm Turnbull take funding away from the education of our kids to pay for these massive handouts that are going to multinationals, millionaires and the big banks. I want to know: how is Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister, actually able to look at himself in the mirror and justify making it easier for big business to pay less tax rather than supporting some of our most vulnerable Australians? Only Labor will restore the fair, needs based funding and replace the full $17 billion that we have seen cut out of the education system.

We also have a crisis in TAFE. Out in my area, TAFE is one of the most preferred methods of tertiary education, but in this budget we've seen another $270 million of new cuts to TAFE, on top of the $3 billion that has already been ripped out of TAFE. The government is just going in there and gouging it out. Instead of investing in local jobs and skills, instead of investing in people, the government continues to cut funding and vocational education. Since the Liberals came to office, there are 140,000 fewer apprentices and trainees in Australia—that is, 140,000 fewer than when you guys came to office. These cuts have affected my community. The decline in the number of apprentices and trainees is about 37 per cent, and it is continuing to climb. The Liberals are failing to support the apprentices and the trainees, yet again, and are relying on 457 visa workers to come into this country and fill what is going to be a huge skills shortage in future years.

We have said that we are going to invest $470 million to boost TAFE apprenticeships and skills for Australians. The Liberals are cutting $2.2 billion out of the entire university budget—that is $98 million out of Western Sydney University, of which I am a very proud alumni, and 10,000 fewer student places next year. A huge number of the students who go to the University of Western Sydney are female. Another huge cohort at that university are those who are the first in their families to go to university. They are not blooded into this system. They have overcome many things in their lives, and they are the first in their families to go to university. When you cut $98 million out of a university that is providing those kinds of opportunities, you are not really giving those people a fair go or a ticket to a lifetime of opportunity. Instead, you are going to give the multinationals an $80 billion lifetime to an opportunity at something, which is probably for their shareholders, their corporates and the pay of the CEOs.

Honourable members interjecting

Ms HUSAR: Oh, you know, 'all of those mum and dad shareholders' is what I am hearing on the other side. The other area of concern for me is the $2 billion cut from residential aged care. The government have dumped the $1.2 billion workforce compact and supplement. There are 105,000 older Australians who have been left waiting for care at home. For four years, the government have tried to increase the pension age, as we know, to 70. It might be fine if you have been a banker all your life to work until you are 70, but if you've been a brickie, a mechanic climbing under cars or a truckie climbing in and out of the cabs of a truck, it is probably not going to be in your best interest or your physical health to work until you are 70; if you are a banker, maybe that is okay. We've fought and we're going to continue to fight the government's proposal to make people wait until they are 70 before they can access the age pension. In its first four years, 375,000 Australians will have to wait longer before they can access the pension. This is a $3.6 billion hit to the retirement income of Australians. I hear that those on the other side of the chamber are so concerned about shareholders, but how about $3.6 billion towards the retirement of older people who have worked their whole life in this country? We see that the government are cutting $7 each week out of the energy supplement. They are cutting $7 a week from the pensioners of this country. We cannot trust a single word that this Prime Minister says. He's more interested in an $80 billion tax break to big business and the banks than he is in helping out the pensioners of this country, who have earned their pension.

It should also come as no surprise that there is no comprehensive strategy to deal with people movement in Western Sydney. We have a Liberal government in New South Wales who just want to toll and toll and toll their way to prosperity. We've seen this government come up with an airport plan for Western Sydney, but no infrastructure to go with it, and no money to build the railway line. We had a really fanciful announcement, but there was just $50 million in that budget to prepare a business case—not to actually lay a single piece of the rail line that is needed or the infrastructure. That is $50 million just to prepare a business case.

This government are not doing enough. They're letting down the people of my community, and I'm going to fight that every single day.