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Thursday, 21 June 2018
Page: 3628

Senator WATT (Queensland) (15:23): Today will undoubtedly be the day that Senator Pauline Hanson is remembered once and for all for having come to this parliament not to stand up for battlers but to stand up for billionaires. Everything that Senator Hanson has been saying over the last two years about caring for battlers has been fully exposed today in her deciding to vote yet again with the Turnbull government to advantage high-income earners at the expense of low- and middle-income earners. Let there be no doubt that what Senator Hanson has done today is to yet again sign up and give the government support, another deal with the government, this time to lock in a tax cut that will cost the Australian budget $144 billion, most of which is going to go to high-income earners, particularly in electorates, like the Prime Minister's own, in the wealthy suburbs of Sydney. There is not very much in this for battlers whatsoever. Think about that: $144 billion. If the battlers Senator Hanson says she cares about could make a choice about where that $144 billion of taxpayers' money would be spent, does anyone seriously think that they would say, 'Pauline, what we want you to do is go down to Canberra and give Malcolm Turnbull's constituents in Point Piper on the Sydney Harbour a big tax cut'? Is that seriously what anyone thinks they would say?

I have actually spent a lot of time in places like Longman and Central Queensland—places that do have higher levels of support for Senator Hanson's party. People there are saying they want money spent on their health, on their hospitals, on their kids' education, on increasing pension levels and on apprenticeships and training. You don't very often run into someone in Rockhampton, Mount Morgan, Sarina or any of those towns in Central Queensland that Senator Hanson says that she cares about who are actually saying: 'Please, take money off me. Take money out of my hospitals, and can you please give that money to all the stockbrokers in Mr Turnbull's electorate? That's who really needs a leg-up.' No-one ever says that in Central Queensland. No-one ever says that in Longman. I doubt that anyone in any of those areas has ever said that to Senator Hanson.

So why is it that yet again she has come down here to parliament today and voted with the Liberals, voted with Mr Turnbull, to deliver these massive tax cuts to high-income earners, including herself—because, of course, one of the results of this is that Senator Hanson personally will get a $7,000 tax cut as a result of what was passed here today? None of the battlers in Longman, Central Queensland or anywhere else will be getting tax cuts anywhere near that size. In fact, they would have got bigger tax cuts had Senator Hanson been prepared to vote for Labor's tax cuts that we proposed and which were heavily targeted towards low- and middle-income earners. But no. Senator Hanson was too intent on maintaining her 100 per cent voting record this year with the Liberal Party and with Mr Turnbull. One hundred per cent of the time this year Senator Hanson has voted with the Liberals. Every single time there has been a bill put before the parliament by this government she's had a bit of a chat with them and sort of said, 'I'm not so sure,' but eventually does a deal with them and always signs up with them. This time it's going to cost taxpayers $144 billion.

Of course, she's not the only person who has grossly let down her constituents in coming to vote for these tax cuts today. The National Party also just have to hang their heads in shame. It's embarrassing watching the Liberal Party play the National Party time after time after time. We've been talking all week about the fact that these tax cuts will deliver the biggest benefit to the wealthiest electorates in the country, almost all of which are held by the Liberal Party, and people who will benefit least are in the poorest electorates in the country, and they are overwhelmingly represented by National Party MPs. Electorates in Queensland like Hinkler, Capricornia, Dawson and Flynn are held by National Party-aligned MPs who have come down to Canberra. They yet again toddled along and said: 'Malcolm Turnbull, what have I got to do today? Oh, your people need a tax cut? Okay. How can I help you do that? That's by ripping off my own people and cutting funding to my own hospitals, my own schools and my own TAFEs.' That's what these National Party MPs keep doing. It is incredibly embarrassing to see them sell out their own constituents and roll over time and time again for Malcolm Turnbull. (Time expired)

Question agreed to.