Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Page: 2314

Economy


Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (14:34): My question is to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation. How has the government been proactive in delivering positive policies to strengthen the Australian economy and support working people? What risks are there to this positive reform agenda?


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (14:35): I thank the member for Shortland for her question. She knows this is a positive and proactive government because 40,300 of her constituents are going to get an increase in superannuation from nine per cent to 12 per cent. That is positive and proactive. This government is positive and proactive about Australians and Australia's future. On this side of the House, we know we can afford to be positive and proactive. There are at least three reasons why we are being positive and proactive: (1) we are positive and proactive about Australia's workplaces, (2) we are positive and proactive about Australia's retirement policies and (3) we are positive and proactive about our financial management.

Let me turn to the first of the reasons why we are being positive and proactive about Australia's workplaces—5.1 per cent unemployment, 320,000 apprentices and trainees coming online, a 29 per cent corporate tax, 150,000 community workers getting a long overdue pay rise, an $18,000 tax-free threshold from 1 July and safe rates on our roads.

Mr Hockey interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for North Sydney will remain silent for the balance of the minister's answer.

Mr SHORTEN: We should be so lucky. When we look at the negative, though, the threats to this in Better Workplaces, the opposition have got an industrial relations program and a witness protection policy—an industrial relations policy and witness protection.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr SHORTEN: They are certainly against giving 150,000 community workers a pay rise. They do not support a corporate tax rate of 29 per cent.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I ask the minister to pause. I request that the House be entirely silent for the balance of the minister's answer.

Mr SHORTEN: So they certainly do not have a view about Australian workplaces. A second way we are doing it is through better retirement policies. We are the only party who want to increase superannuation from nine to 12 per cent. We certainly want to spread the prosperity of the mining boom so that all Australians do not retire poor. Yet, we have got an opposition who will not support abolishing the tax on superannuation for low-income people on $37,000. They will not support increasing superannuation from nine to 12 per cent. But the biggest reason we are a proactive and positive government is that we are moving to surplus. We are engaging in the fastest fiscal consolidation. Those opposite cannot afford to be positive. They have 70 billion reasons why they cannot be positive. The member for Moncrieff let the cat out of the bag. He said last night on Sky News:

I don't think I'm letting the cat out of the bag when I say people feel that we are not being proactive enough in terms of outlining the policies that we would bring into government.

Mr Ciobo interjecting

Mr SHORTEN: The problem for the member for Moncrieff is that he cannot be optimistic—

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Moncrieff will remove himself from the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a). For the record, I requested that all honourable members be silent for the balance of the minister's answer.

The member for Moncrieff then left the chamber.

Mr SHORTEN: To put it simply, those opposite cannot flick the switch from negative to positive because the switch that they would have to use costs $70 billion. (Time expired)