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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4363


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:14): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answers given by the Minister representing the Minister for Finance (Senator Cormann) to the questions asked by Senators Singh, Marshall and Keneally relating to taxation.

Once again we had the example of Senator Cormann audaciously stating that the market will do everything for working people in this country and demanding that we simply accept that taking $80 billion out of government funding for health, for education, for pensions and for family benefits and hand it over to the big end of town—and hand over $17 billion of that straight to the banks—would make for a better Australia. What an absolute nonsense!

This is nothing but a rabble of a government. They are at each other's throats every day of the week. The only plan they have come up with for the future of this country is a plan for smaller government. Well, I can tell you what smaller government means. Smaller government means that the health system will be crushed. Smaller government means that the education system will not have the funding to make sure that we have a world-class education system. Smaller government means that people who need social security support will not get it. That's exactly what smaller government means. And that's exactly what will happen when you take $80 billion out of the public purse and hand it over to the big end of town, where executive salaries will go through the roof, where it will be simply buying back shares to force up the price of shares and making sure that executives get higher pay. That is what it's all about—and we know that it doesn't work.

Then there was this nonsense that we heard today about 'a rising tide will rise all boats'. What a load of nonsense! When you have a government punching holes in the boat of social security, that boat sinks. When you have a government that's punching holes in the health system, that boat sinks. And when you have a government that punches holes in the education system, that boat sinks. What sinks with that is a decent society, a decent Australia, an Australia that was once egalitarian but is nothing like it under this rabble of a government—a government that is too busy carving each other up on climate change and on economy policy and carving each other up over personalities. They are so diverted from focusing on the real issues for ordinary Australian people that they have lost all sense of reality in terms of what's important for working people and working families in this country.

They are teaming up with the Business Council of Australia. Why wouldn't the Business Council of Australia get out there and argue that it's great to hand $80 billion of public money back to big business, back to multinational corporations? The Business Council represent the highest paid chief executives in the country, and the money will go straight back to chief executives in higher pay. Why wouldn't they support this proposition? Why wouldn't they be saying, 'Give us more small government and we'll take higher wages and higher executive salaries'?

Here we have a government that does what Senator Cash was doing—infiltrating all areas of the Public Service and appointing people in the Public Service that will look after the interests of the Liberal Party. We don't have an independent Public Service anymore. We've got a Public Service infiltrated by Liberal nominees who look after the Liberal Party. They are doing the same thing with Brian Loughnane and Andrew Bragg, the executive director of the Business Council of Australia—straight from the Liberal Party into the Business Council. There is absolutely no understanding of the key issues facing the Australian public and no understanding of what is good for Australia. They are only looking after themselves and the big end of town. (Time expired)