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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14883


Mr IRONS (SwanAssistant Minister to the Prime Minister) (15:39): I rise to speak on today's MPI. When the Prime Minister answered his last questions in question time, he talked about when the Liberals and Nationals came to government in 2013. We said we'd stop the boats, we'd get rid of the carbon tax, we'd spend on infrastructure that would drive the Australian economy, and we would also bring the budget back to surplus, which we have done.

I want to briefly touch on and acknowledge the Leader of the House's time in parliament. One of the first things that happened to me when I arrived in parliament in 2007 with some of my colleagues, who I see are still stubbornly here—

Ms Collins: We certainly are!

Mr IRONS: On a percentage ratio, we've got more of us here. Anyway, what I'd like to say about Mr Pyne is that he gave me some great advice when I first arrived and at times during the course of my parliamentary life. He's also given me other titbits that have been helpful, as I am sure he has given many people in the Liberal-National coalition. Hats off to him, and I wish him all the best in his future.

The coalition does have a plan. It's right there for everyone to see. It's a public document. Everyone knows about it. We have a plan. Australia is one of the best countries in the world to live, work and raise a family. The Prime Minister is right: in Australia, if you have a go, you'll get a go under a Liberal-National government. The Morrison government is working to keep our economy strong, keep Australians safe and keep Australians together without increasing taxes. We have a plan for Australia—one that will build a stronger economy and ensure we continue delivering for Australia. Those opposite might not have learnt to read our budget, as we saw in question time following the budget, but our plan was shown in our budget. It's a surplus budget with heavy investment in ensuring that Australians are safe, that our economy remains strong and that we continue to build in Australia.

Our plan for a stronger economy includes tax relief to encourage and reward working Australians. People deserve to keep in their pockets more of the money that they earn. In my electorate of Swan, our plan to lower taxation will benefit more than 75,000 people, thanks to the tax relief we have legislated. Our plan for lower taxes for working Australians will benefit over 10 million Australians, with more than 4.5 million individuals estimated to receive the maximum benefit for the 2018-19 income year. Our little book that we've got here talks about Labor's tax bill. I'll just quote to you from it.

Ms Collins interjecting

Mr IRONS: I can hear the member for Franklin dying to hear what we've got to say about their taxes.

Ms Collins: No, we're not.

Ms Rishworth: Clip art!

Mr IRONS: Labor wants higher income tax. Once our full plan comes to effect, 94 per cent of taxpayers will pay no more than 30c in the dollar. Income taxes under Labor would be higher. Labor has said it would cut our legislated tax relief in half, increasing income taxes by $70 million. Further, in the 2018-19 budget, we have announced $158 million of additional personal income tax relief. Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating has described the Shorten tax hike as 'too punitive a level where the state is confiscating almost half of people’s income over $180,000'.

Our plan is to continue backing small businesses every step of the way, as they are the engine room of our economy. I know this as I was a small-business man for 25 years. Without small business, there would be no Australia for any government to have a plan. Those opposite don't have a plan for Australian businesses. They instead want the CFMMEU and their union mates to come in and take control. They even oppose the fast rail link to Geelong. They demonise business owners at every step. They think of them as being big, fat, greedy cats when, at the end of the day, what almost all of them do is risk their own assets and their own family lives and always they have paid at the end. As someone who's spent 25 years in business, I understand that, and many of my colleagues on my side of the chamber have been through those experiences as well.

I was also told that we should always leave things better than we find them. This is an important value for not only me but all Australians. How can we ensure that Australia continues to be the great country it is? We do that by fixing the budget, because fiscal responsibility means we can ensure that we can provide funding for all essential services without putting at risk services and without future generations having to pay back debt. Those opposite have no plan for fiscal responsibility. At every election they say, 'You can trust us on the budget,' like the Leader of the Opposition's on-again off-again friend Kevin Rudd, who described himself as a fiscal conservative, did before the 2007 election. The fact is that, after six years of chaos, Labor left Australia with a broken budget, a damaged economy and a serious mess to fix. The key facts are that between 2008-09 and 2012-13 Labor delivered deficits totalling $191 billion, and Labor left additional projected deficits of $123 billion over the next four years. The Treasury projected that the budget would be in deficit for the next 10 years. This would have meant 16 unbroken years of deficits if Labor had stayed in power. As we heard from the Prime Minister, if you vote for Labor once, you pay for it for a decade. That is a very true story.

In practice, what have Labor done? They have done nothing. There have been nothing but deficits for 12 years, which they created. They haven't delivered a surplus in government since 1990. The last time they delivered a surplus was when Allan Border was the captain of the Australian cricket team, my 26-year-old son wasn't alive yet, and the West Coast Eagles hadn't won an AFL premiership. Mr Deputy Speaker Hogan, I know you're from a different state, but it resonates for a lot of people. People can put a time line through that.

Keeping Australians safe is something that this government has as an absolute priority. It is front and centre in our future plan for Australia. Those opposite talk a big game, but they're beholden to the Greens and the Labor Left on this. They slashed our Defence budget when last in government to rates lower than 1939. They couldn't stop the boats—and they told us we couldn't stop the boats—so they turned their failed minister for immigration into their shadow Treasurer. If those opposite couldn't secure Australia's borders, how can we put them in charge of Australia's economy? Stopping the boats is more important than just ensuring Australia's border security is in the hands of our agencies. In fact, it allows us to spend more on the services all Australians rely on. As we know, $16 billion was blown by those opposite on border protection. That is just $2 billion shy of the amount in drugs we have listed on the PBS since coming to government. And we can't forget the fact that over 1,200 lives were lost at sea under their border protection policy.

In our budget, we are providing more than half a billion dollars of new funding for our Australian Federal Police to keep Australians safe. This includes funding to enhance our ability in counterterrorism in all forms, and it will help ensure that Australians, anywhere in Australia, are actually safe. Since being in government, we've cancelled the visas of over 4,150 foreign nationals who have committed serious crimes, including murderers, rapists and child sex offenders. That reminds me: this government introduced a bill for mandatory sentencing of paedophiles, rapists and child sex offenders. Guess who voted against it. Can anyone guess who voted against it?

Ms Flint: Yes, the Labor Party. Disgusting.

Mr IRONS: That side. That side of the chamber voted against it. They are protectors of these people.

With a stronger economy, the government are delivering more funding for schools—an extra $37.6 billion over a decade, to 2029, which is a 62 per cent funding increase per student. In my electorate, schools received an average increase of 70 per cent of their funding. Our government are embarking on an infrastructure spend that has not been seen in the lifetime of anyone in this House. They have played the game for health—they would like to own that area—but here I have an article, which I will table. It says, 'Bentley Hospital loses $10m upgrade funds'. The WA state Labor government took it out of their operating budget. It's all here in the Canning Times, in September 2017. What happened? Recently, the Leader of the Opposition and his candidate turned up at Bentley Hospital and announced $10 million of funding for the Bentley Hospital, just to replace the money that WA state Labor had taken out. The hypocrisy of that is well known to everyone in the electorate. They'll see through that, as they will see through the Labor Party having no plan for our economy and no plan for the future of Australia, as the coalition does. I will table that now for you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

Ms Collins: Billions of dollars you ripped out.

Mr IRONS: I can hear the member for Franklin cheering me on. There's a stark contrast between the choice of either the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition at the next poll. I'm sure that all Australians know that they want to see Scott Morrison on their TVs in their rooms for the next three years and not the Leader of the Opposition. The coalition has a plan for the future of Australia.