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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Page: 12247

Fuel Prices

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:20): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's decision today to ambush Australian motorists with a new $2.2 billion petrol tax with no mandate from the Australian people and no mandate from the parliament. What will be the total cost of the Prime Minister's petrol tax ambush for Victorian motorists?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:21): It is not a new tax; it is indexation of an old tax, a tax that was first introduced by the Hawke government, which was a genuine reforming government, a government that was capable of engaging in mature debate and a government that was capable of looking at the long-term national interest and not just playing short-term politics with everything. It was introduced indexed by the Hawke government—

Mr Shorten interjecting

Mr ABBOTT: Yes, as the Leader of the Opposition interjects, it was frozen by the Howard government in very different circumstances to those that apply today—in circumstances where the Howard government consistently delivered surpluses at one per cent of GDP. There were successive surpluses at almost one per cent of GDP by the Howard government. Of course, under members opposite we got deficits of about three per cent of GDP.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. To be directly relevant the Prime Minister needs to explain the impact on Victorian motorists.

The SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. There is no point of order. The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr ABBOTT: So the cost on the average family is 40c a week or $20 a year. Of course, the average Australian household is $550 a year better off because of this government's abolition of the carbon tax. The average Victorian family is going to benefit massively from the $3 billion that this government is committing to the East West Link under contracts that members opposite want to tear up. They hate the East West Link. They hate the sanctity of contract and they are going to damage the motoring public of Victoria by failing to proceed with something which is vital for the long-term future of Melbourne, Victoria and Australia. This was a budget measure; a reasonable budget measure that was originally introduced by the Hawke government in the days when Labor had real leadership and was really committed to the national interest, and I am very happy to see it coming back.