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Thursday, 4 July 2019
Page: 341


Dr LEIGH (Fenner) (13:51): The Liberals have become the party of procrastination. With the economy tanking faster than the leadership tilt by the member for Dickson, the government's entire focus has been not on today, but on five years time.

Labor took larger and more equitable tax cuts to the last election, and now we're the only party arguing for every taxpayer to get a tax cut this term. Who can say the economy doesn't need it? We're in the longest per capita recession since the early 1980s. Engineering construction and new car sales are falling. Unemployment is a full percentage point higher than in Britain, the United States, Germany and New Zealand. Real wages have been flatlining for six years, and the Productivity Commission tells us that productivity growth is 'mediocre'.

Just this week, we had more bad economic news. On Monday, 20 top economists warned that the odds of recession in the next two years were 29 per cent. On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank cut rates to historic lows. On Wednesday, dwelling approvals were reported to be down. And today the Bureau of Statistics tells us that job vacancies have slowed and retail sales figures are lousy. The government's 2024 tax cuts will make the tax system less progressive and lead to cuts in services. They're based on economic forecasts no serious economist believes. But the big problem is that the government's focused on 2024 when we need a plan for today. Why don't they have a plan? Well, maybe it's what the member for Hasluck told Niki Savva:

In politics, you never plan; you always plot.

(Time expired)