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Monday, 7 July 2014
Page: 4193

Budget


Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:08): My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Abetz. Will the minister advise how the new Senate provides the opportunity for the government to deliver the agenda on which it was elected to build a strong, prosperous economy for a safe, secure Australia?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:08): On 7 September last year, the Australian people elected the government with an unmistakably clear mandate—a mandate to scrap the carbon and mining taxes, to stop the boats, to build the roads of the 21st century and to fix Labor's budget mess. Since coming to office, the government has committed itself to methodically and systematically delivering on those promises. Already we have introduced into the parliament legislation to repeal the carbon and mining taxes, to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and to strengthen protection for honest trade union members—all policies which carry the mandate of the Australian people.

However, it is disappointing that over these last nine months, the Labor-Greens alliance has been hell-bent on obstructing the passage of the government's legislation. Indeed, so resentful is Labor of the decision of the Australian people that last week it even boycotted the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee, with the sole purpose of frustrating the passage of the carbon tax repeal legislation. The Labor-Greens alliance seems to be so desperate to keep the world's biggest carbon tax that they have tried to rort the proceedings of a Senate committee in order to prevent the new Senate from having its say on this important legislation. It now falls to this new Senate to deliver to the Australian people those policies for which the Australian people voted last September, some nine months ago. I therefore congratulate all new senators and also invite all new senators to reflect on the wishes of the people of Australia in electing them to this place and to respect the agenda on which the Australian people elected this government.


Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:10): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister explain to the Senate how the agenda on which the government was elected will deliver better outcomes in health and education for Australian families?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:11): At the very heart of this government is a steadfast commitment to the forgotten families of Australia. That is why we are making a multibillion-dollar investment in our hospitals and schools. Australian families should be assured that the government has guaranteed total hospital funding to the states of almost $70,000 million over the coming four years. I am also pleased to inform Senator McKenzie, who I note has a particular interest in education, that the government is investing $64.5 billion in government and non-government schools across our nation. The government looks forward with the Senate in being able to deliver. Of course, need I remind the Senate that, but for the deficit and debt legacy, there would be an extra $1,000 million per month available for these issues if we did not have to pay the interest bill on the borrowings thus far.


Senator McKENZIE (Victoria) (14:12): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Will the minister further advise the Senate how the agenda on which the government was elected will deliver better outcomes for Australian workers and businesses?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:12): The most important thing that the Senate can do straightaway to improve living standards by reducing the cost of living and supporting Australian jobs is to repeal the world's biggest carbon tax. The world's biggest carbon tax was already high enough, but last week, because of the Labor-Greens majority that existed in this place, it got even higher. The former Senate refused to respect the outcome of the election last year. On the subject of election mandates, we must not forget that in 2010 the Labor Party went to the election promising there would be no carbon tax. In 2013 they went to the election pretending that 'Kevin Rudd and Labor have removed the carbon tax,' yet now, just as in 2010, Labor comes into this parliament and seeks to repudiate its own election commitments.