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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 213

Senator BOYCE (Queensland) (15:25): Poor old Senator McLucas—trying her very best there to confect up a great furore of concern about what is going on. But this government is not going to play the class warfare game, and we are committed to assisting low-income workers across the board by reducing the tax burden for them.

Senator Conroy: By reducing their income.

Senator BOYCE: We will be retaining the current tax threshold, Senator Conroy, and that means that any person in Australia will earn $20,500 a year on which they pay no net tax whatsoever. The rest of it, of course, is trying to fix the mess that we have been left by the Gillard-Rudd government. On the confected concerns that the Labor opposition has regarding the fact that we will not be taxing people who earn more than $100,000 a year on their superannuation, that is because the bill that the past Labor government put through is unworkable—undoable. It cannot be done. If it were in fact to be done, it would be at such a huge expense to the system that it would cost more to administer than it would reap. Of course, that is not something new or different for this Labor opposition—the fact that it was very good at putting through legislation where what it got back was less than what went out. That is clear in many of the bills that it put through. The other issue is that we, through our paid parental leave, will be increasing the amount of superannuation that parents, and particularly women, will receive over their lifetime. The miserable little Paid Parental Leave scheme that the opposition put through does not include superannuation.

Most important, when we get down to the concerns of the government for families and low-income earners compared to those of the opposition, is the question of the carbon tax and the effect that that has on families. If you look at it, households in Australia will save an average of $550 a year when the carbon tax is abolished. But, of course, again we have to rely on the Labor-Greens coalition to behave (a) as the Australian people asked and (b) as the Australian economy requires to get the system through.

It was quite amusing to listen to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Wong, talk about low-doc loans. My god! If any government ever tried to fix up and con its way through a system, it was the past Rudd-Gillard government. But we are not going to play the game that Senator McLucas seems to need to be played, whereby there is an announcement every 20 minutes about something or other. We are going to methodically, seriously and calmly go about fixing the economy, and we will do that by including things like lifting the current deficit level to $500 billion, because that is what we need it to be to deal with the problems that have been left for us by the Labor opposition. There is no way that we can continue with the unfunded, unaffordable propositions that the previous government put together. When we are in a stronger budget position, as we have outlined, we will proceed to undertake whatever we can to assist people. To suggest that a commission of audit is in some way a cuts mission is just ridiculous and typical of the Labor opposition.

Productivity is never going to go out of fashion. The amount of money that this government will invest in health and education will be the same. Is the Labor opposition seriously suggesting that what we should be doing is just leaving money inefficiently where they put it so that cuts do not happen in particular small programs? (Time expired)