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Thursday, 31 May 2018
Page: 5198


Mr CREWTHER (Dunkley) (16:10): Today's MPI, about the government cutting $83 million from the ABC, is Labor back to their usual tricks. Last week they tried to make out that there are cuts to health care and hospitals, and they failed—particularly when the increase in healthcare funding is more than $10 billion higher than the approximate $13 billion when Labor last left government.

So this week it's the ABC. The Australian Labor Party, as I said last week, are the real party of cuts. Where they can't cut, they create cuts. They pretend. They exaggerate. So what is the Labor Party proposing to do? Cuts to your standard of living through higher taxes. Cuts to retirees' savings. Cuts to your investments. Cuts to your housing. This will all come back to cost-of-living pressures and make it harder for everyday working families to get by.

As usual, those opposite are showing absolutely no respect for Australians and are completely disregarding my constituents' intelligence. We are here to stand up to their lies, and the fact that they are lying to the Australian public shows that they are completely unfit to govern—spinning falsehoods and running any scare campaign that their tacticians can come up with.

We on this side of the House are blessed with a great balance between private and public organisations, media and other avenues that ensure our community is provided with a variety of subjects, viewpoints and depth. ABC and SBS provide the vast majority of cultural and educational programs. But, as usual, the focus of those opposite is all about the dollar figure. They think that if the funding isn't increasing, how could the situation be improving? Again, they claim that by not increasing funding, it is a cut. In contrast, the coalition government is looking at the content, the management and the compliance with the ABC's charter. Also, it is vitally important that the ABC can maintain its independence without being fed more and more money to propagate the views of the big-spending, big-taxing Labor Party.

In 2018 and 2019, the ABC will be provided with over $1 billion in annual funding. Over the three years from 2019-20 to 2021-22, the ABC will receive nearly $3.2 billion in base funding. The key point is that there are no cuts to the ABC. The Labor Party, who announced a one-, two-, three-, three-, four-, five-point budget plan, have shown yet again that they are fiscally illiterate, clearly not understanding the difference between cuts and an operational indexation pause. The operational indexation pause is equivalent to around only 2.6 cents in every dollar of funding that the ABC will receive.

The ABC has greater funding certainty than any other media organisation in the nation—a great luxury, of which I know the ABC's management will be appreciative. How many other organisations, businesses or other bodies can know down to the dollar what their funding will be? They are dependent on investment performance and the reception of their message, amongst many other factors. But I am confident that the ABC can manage this short period effectively without reductions in content and services. The indexation pause does not even take effect until more than a year away. Furthermore, the ABC will continue to be exempt from the government-wide efficiency dividend.

I also note that we are a government that is focusing on responsibility, as well as the ability to govern by bringing the country into strong economic management. We are currently a country that is in debt, and we are completely committed to returning to responsible governance as entrusted to us by the Australian public. This year's federal budget shows we have gone a long way to rectifying this, reducing the debt that originally arose from the six years of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments. We are now planning to bring it to surplus in 2019-20. This is the difference between this side of the House and those opposite. This means, by being fiscally responsible with ABC funding and funding to other organisations and by reducing our debt and increasing the revenue coming to the government through strong economic management, we can spend more on essential services. No more, for example, does the ABC need to report on those with spinal muscular atrophy suffering from the implications of not having access to Spinraza, because we are funding Spinraza in this year's budget. We are doing many other things on essential services through strong economic management, and I look forward to speaking further on this.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hogan ): The discussion has concluded.