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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 10076

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (11:12): I am pleased to rise on this motion put forward by the member for Newcastle, but I do have some issues with the wording of the motion. The member for Newcastle comes into this chamber and condemns the government for cutting the overseas aid budget. I am sure the member for Newcastle read the recent budget and has been following the debate in public over the last six years and that the member for Newcastle understands that this nation has currently run deficit budgets for the last six years and it will take at least three years until we can at least get that budget back into a balance. So that means that every year we are continuing to borrow more and more money. So if the member for Newcastle comes in and want to spend more money on foreign aid, a very noble cause, she should say where that money is coming from. Where is that money coming from? So you are going to raise taxes on other businesses? You are quite safe. We would like to hear where the money is coming from. Now we know where it came from for the last six years. We know where a lot of the foreign aid budget came from for the last six years: it was simply borrowed. So for the last six years we were actually borrowing money from overseas to give it back overseas. Even the former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr said you cannot run aid on borrowings. So if it is the proposal, which I seem to hear here from members on the other side, to raise company tax rates to pay more to fund their additional foreign investment—

Ms Claydon interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Ewen Jones ): The member was heard in silence.

Mr CRAIG KELLY: let them put that up. Let them put that up so every company knows, so everyone out there in the public knows, that your plan, if elected to government, is to raise the company tax rates so you can spend more on foreign aid.

I would like to give one example of how much of our foreign aid budget does not actually achieve what is intended. The previous government, over its last three years, gave $416 million to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Much of that money went into financing a bridge. There was $160 million to build a bridge. That is all very nice and that is all very well, but I think the taxpayers of Australia should be asking: why can't the Socialist Republic of Vietnam fund their own bridges? If the Australian taxpayer is doing it, that simply leaves the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to spend money on other things. Since we were so generous in giving them $416 million, that freed up funds for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to buy 12 of the latest model Russian fighter jets last year for $460 million. We, the Australian taxpayer, may as well give the money to Putin's Russia to pay for those jets and let the Russians send those jets to the Vietnamese, because effectively that is what is happening. That is what is happening.

There is another point in the motion I would like to raise. The member for Newcastle talks about 'condemning the government for its lack of action on multinational tax avoidance'. They had six years in government. I would be very interested to hear what they did during their six years in government. Absolutely squat! In contrast, we currently have our Treasurer up in Cairns for the G20, leading the world and leading the OECD nations in tackling that problem. So what we should be doing is changing this motion to say that we condemn the lack of action of the previous government and congratulate our federal Treasurer for taking steps and leading the way on multinational tax avoidance.

The other thing I would quickly like to add is on poverty. What we need to understand is that yes, it is correct that extreme global poverty has been halved since 1990. But we need to understand that it has not been aid that has led to that decline. What it has been is the adoption of free market principles.

Ms Hall: Ha!

Mr CRAIG KELLY: What a sad, sad response. The adoption of free markets and the encouragement of entrepreneurial activity: that is what lifts people out of poverty, not handouts. You combine free market principles, encouragement and reward for entrepreneurial activities and an abundant supply of low-cost electricity. That is what lifts people out of poverty. That is what our history shows and that is what we should be encouraging more and more of to make sure that we actually lift those people out of poverty. (Time expired)