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Wednesday, 27 June 2018
Page: 4148


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:27): I'm surprised Senator Singh mentioned 'heart' so often when one of her Tasmanian colleagues, Mr Hart, can't agree with Mr Shorten and his approach to taxation. But I'm not going to talk about Braddon. I think Brett Whiteley is a wonderful candidate who is so in tune with the electorate that he doesn't need my support to win that electorate. As for Justine Keay, I don't know her; I've never heard of her. All I know about her is that she was taking her pay as a member of parliament when she knew she wasn't entitled to it.

I am particularly pleased about this debate because I know the people of Longman are very keen to connect up to the NBN. In fact, 86 per cent is the rollout completion in Longman already and 68 per cent of premises have already taken up NBN services. The LNP candidate for Longman, 'Big Trev Ruthenberg', is very keen to see his electorate completely connected to the NBN—and it is being done for the people of Longman at an affordable price. Had Labor's NBN been pushed through, a typical NBN bill in Longman would be an extra $43. That is over $500 a year that the people of Longman would have to pay for their internet connection if Labor's NBN had progressed.

The coalition's changes to the NBN on coming to power saved taxpayers around $30 billion, enabling them to avoid the $43 increase in monthly internet bills that Labor's program would have had. What's more, because we changed it and made it more affordable and it could get to households quicker, Australians can connect some six to eight years earlier than would have been the case under Labor's NBN.

I know the people of Longman are very much aware of the cost-of-living issues and are very much aware that Labor's proposals in the tax field are all about increasing taxes. They know that the state Labor government in Queensland, in their recent budget, increased or introduced five new taxes. And so, as I said, part of the political lexicon of Australia at the moment is, 'Labor increases taxes, Labor taxes more and Labor lies.'

These cheaper prices—the $500 a month that the good citizens of Longman will save—are a real benefit if they're concerned about the cost of living, if they're concerned about Labor's proposals for increasing taxes and if they're concerned about, and have to pay, the Queensland Labor government's tax hike in the recent budget. Just like Labor's energy policy led to higher electricity bills, Labor's NBN policy would have led to higher internet bills. That's why, I guess, everybody in Longman knows that Bill Shorten, with his increases in taxes for energy and the NBN, is one 'Bill' the people of Longman cannot afford.

Labor was promoting a gold-plated NBN, with 1,000 megabits of broadband speed, but, unfortunately for Labor, less than 0.1 per cent of users are buying these top speeds, and less than 20 per cent of users are buying even 100 megabit speeds. So Labor's program—as always, looking after the big end of town, the big unions and big business—was all about that 0.1 per cent of users who wanted those top speeds. The other citizens of Longman are happy with the speeds they're getting, and they're very happy with the fact that they will save $500 a year over what they would have paid had Labor's NBN gone through.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Macdonald. I just remind you to refer to those in the other place by their correct titles.