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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2508


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:53): My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that he's making over 150,000 Tasmanians pay more income tax every year, while providing a $65 billion handout to big business?

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister) (14:53): It's taken the Leader of the Opposition 54 minutes to ask a question about the economy. And this is a Leader of the Opposition who has said we should be talking about the things that matter to all Australians. I thank him for raising something that matters to every Australian, and that is ensuring that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is fully funded and paid for.

The Leader of the Opposition took great credit for the NDIS when it was set up with bipartisan support from the member for Warringah, as Leader of the Opposition in those days. It was set up with bipartisan support, and he took great credit for that, but he never paid for it. He wanted the plaudits, but he wasn't prepared to do the hard yards and make the decisions to ensure that the money would be there for parents with disabled kids, who are worried about how they will be cared for after the parents are gone. To those parents, we can say we are doing everything we can to ensure the money will be there and that security will be there for their children. We did that. We're doing that now.

Why won't the Labor Party support it? Purely politics. They complain about an increase in the Medicare levy. That is exactly the argument that we have put. It's exactly the argument that Julia Gillard put several years ago and which we in the coalition accepted and supported. We recognised that the NDIS needed to be paid for. Regrettably, the Labor Party did not fund it. They failed to do so. They've let down people with disabilities and their families right across the country. Surely the time has come for Labor to own up to their failure and recognise that we owe it to those Australians with disabilities and their loved ones and their families to pay for the support we have promised them. It's our duty. We should honour that support and that commitment. Labor should back our changes to the Medicare levy, because they know they will provide the security, the support and the integrity that Australians with disabilities deserve.