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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 10286

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (17:22): I thank Senator Williams for cutting short his contribution to allow me to say a couple of words on this grab for cash bill that the Labor Party has introduced. This bill, the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Unclaimed Money and Other Measures) Bill 2012, is so typical of the Labor Party. They have run out of money and they have promised this mythical surplus of $1.2 or $1.3 billion and half of it is going to come from stealing someone else's money. That is in effect what this bill does: it creates a legal ability to steal money that has been saved by others as a contribution towards their retirement. I concede that if you can come back later and show that they have taken your money they will give it back, but the Labor government would not worry too much about that because they know there is absolutely no way they will be on the treasury benches after the next election to have to find the money to pay back.

Isn't this bill so typical of the dishonesty of this Labor government led by a Prime Minister who cannot tell the truth? I say that and remind everyone yet again, if it needs reminding, that this government is led by a Prime Minister who a few days before the last election, knowing that unless she told a lie she would not have got the votes, promised the Australian people she would not introduce a carbon tax. As soon as she was elected on the strength of that promise, the promise to the Australian people that she would not do this, she turned around and introduced the carbon tax dishonestly. This bill is in that same vein. Indeed, over the six months from 31 December this year to 30 June next year the government intends to raise more than $760 million in additional revenue from measures in this bill the principle of which is stealing, as I say, $555 million of someone else's money.

Wouldn't you think that a bill with these implications—not just on the honesty of this government, not just on their financial mismanagement but on the fact that it is taking someone else's money—would be debated? I know that there are many more speakers who would like to speak on this bill but they are not going to have the opportunity because the Greens political party have joined their mates in the Labor Party to curtail debate on this important legislation. It would appear that this will be the second time today that I am going to be stopped from talking. I do not want to sound like I am taking it personally—

Senator Chris Evans: Your contribution is the biggest part of why we got the numbers.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I did not quite hear that. I thought you are saying, Senator Evans, that you are doing this deliberately to impact on me, on my birthday, I might say. But twice in one day an individual senator—forget who it is—is being prevented from talking in this chamber that we are elected to to look after the interests of our constituents, in my case the people of the state of Queensland.

I know that a lot of this $555 million in so-called 'lost' super, and I put that in inverted commas—I call it stolen money—comes from people who earned the money in my state of Queensland. Queensland is a growth state, a state where until the Labor government came along there was a lot of investment in mines into the future. There was a lot of work in Queensland based on mining and other industries, but the carbon tax and the mining tax that is about to come in are rapidly dissipating that will to invest in Queensland. But it has been there in the past. People have worked in Queensland, they have paid their super contributions and they have moved on to other jobs in different parts of the state, perhaps interstate or even overseas. They have this money left that it is owing to them.

So what is the Labor government going to do? They are going to steal it and put it into consolidated revenue so that this mythical $1.5 billion surplus might appear in the May budget. As Senator Williams so adroitly pointed out, whilst you will be up to fool people in the next budget you will not be able to do it about September next year when the government will be forced, as happened this year, to demonstrate just how shonky are their budget estimates. I am disappointed to say that in the way the Labor Party has cooked the books they do seem to be being assisted by Treasury. I do not like saying that but it is clear that these figures are so shonky and that this bill, along with a lot of the other measures, is just so shonky that it is a pity there are not more people in the Department of Treasury prepared to whistle-blow on the sorts of things that are happening.

This is just one indication of where this government will go to any lengths to try and get to this mythical surplus. You know, Madam Acting Deputy President, that they slashed our defence budget by something like $5.2 billion through the forward estimates to the lowest contribution as a percentage of GDP to defence of our country since 1938.

I could talk for a full 20 minutes but I am not even going to get the opportunity of having my 20 minutes, let alone others on my side who wanted to speak about this. I could go through time after time just listing where these shonky bills and the shonky way the budget has been put together by the Labor Party are just dishonest. It is a typical Labor Party approach. I repeat again the dishonesty of the Prime Minister in the carbon tax debate. We have heard these unanswered questions in relation to the AWU slush fund that the Prime Minister has also not been able or prepared to answer. And you can go through commitment after commitment, promise after promise, by the Labor Party and its leader and you will see that it is a dishonest government, a government shrouded in dishonesty. I will be joining my colleagues in supporting an amendment to this and if it does not go through I will be opposing the bill.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Pratt ): Order! The time allotted for consideration of this bill has expired. The question is that this bill now be read a second time.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question now is that opposition amendment (1) on sheet 7321 be agreed to:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (table items 2 to 11), omit the table items, substitute:

2. Schedules 1 and 2

31 December 2013.

31 December 2013

3. Schedule 3

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.


4. Schedule 4

31 December 2013.

31 December 2013

5. Schedule 5

The day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.