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Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Page: 8164

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (16:09): What an interesting aside that was from the Leader of the House in this matter of public importance, given that the Prime Minister was not prepared to defend herself and her personal integrity, nor was the Treasurer prepared to defend his personal integrity. I have been doing a little bit of research on this the anniversary of the Prime Minister's commitment to the Australian people that there would be no carbon tax under the government she leads. Having a drift through Hansard from 2005, a newer, slightly younger Julia Gillard—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): The Prime Minister.

Mr HOCKEY: at that time said:

… the Labor Party is the party of truth telling. When we go out into the electorate and make promises, do you know what we would do in government: we would keep them. When we say them, we mean them.

I thought, 'Hang on! Is this the same member that is now the Prime Minister, that went to the last election promising to have no carbon tax under the government she leads?' I thought, 'The delusion continues,' because on 20 March 2009 our now Prime Minister said:

I think when you go to an election and you give a promise to the Australian people, you should do everything in your power to honour that promise. We are determined to do that. We gave our word to the Australian people in the election and this is a Government that prides itself on delivering election promises. We want Australians to be able to say well, they’ve said this and they did this …

These are the Prime Minister's own words. This is why the Prime Minister's integrity is in tatters. This is why there is no trust between the Australian people and their Prime Minister. This is why the Australian people have switched off. They have switched off on the Prime Minister, the leader of the nation, because they no longer trust the person in the job.

Trust is a two-way street. Politicians go to the election and they ask the Australian people to trust them with the responsibility of properly running the country and to honour their promises. The flip side is that the politicians have to trust the Australian people, so much so that words are bullets in this game. As has been said before, there are three things in life that can never be recovered: the spoken word, the spent arrow and the lost opportunity. And on this day of all days—the first anniversary of when the Prime Minister spoke the words, 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead'—she cannot recover those words. They are spoken forever. And the bullets and arrows that follow are spent forever.

The fact is that there will be no further opportunities for this Prime Minister. There will be no further opportunities for this government because it is a government that has fundamentally undermined the trust of the Australian people in its judgment, its integrity, its honesty, its consistency and its credibility. This is a government that is inconsistent. That is why consumer confidence is down. That is why people are not going out and borrowing money and taking risks. They are afraid that if they take risks in their daily lives the government will come along and either regulate it or tax it, because that is what Labor does. Labor regulates and taxes. Labor wants to control your life. It wants to be intimately involved in your decision making.

The coalition believes in an Australia where people take personal responsibility for their actions. We believe in a nation where people control their destiny; the government does not—the government facilitates their destiny. That is what we believe in. That is what drives us. The government is clinging onto fictional numbers out of a report in the media, fictional numbers about a so-called black hole. Let me tell you this: we make no apology for going after government waste. We make no apology for having smaller government under the coalition. We will not tax Australians as much as Labor and we will not spend as much as Australia has to spend under Labor. Under the Labor Party it is big tax, big spend. We will not have a $26 billion carbon tax and we will not spend $30.2 billion on the other side of the equation. Somehow this mob think in government that Australians are better off when you take $26 billion of a carbon tax off them and give them back $16 billion in compensation. You know what? You only offer compensation if you cause injury. You only offer compensation if people are hurt. Even Ross Garnaut—Saint Ross himself: the person the Labor Party believe is truly the oracle on this matter—has said every single Australian household is going to end up paying this tax. You can tax business, but business is going to pass it through. And, of course, they do not even know how many businesses. Old Swannie comes in here—we love Swannie—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney will refer to the Treasurer by his title.

Mr HOCKEY: I am sorry; we love the Treasurer. We want him to keep his job. The Australian people have such confidence in the Treasurer that a recent survey, which named 10 people and asked who was best placed to lead the Labor Party, did not even ask whether the Deputy Prime Minister was. Not even the pollster thought that was credible. They had the Leader of the Greens and they had someone from the Liberal Party before they asked whether the Treasurer should be leading the Labor Party. That is what he is reduced to—and this is a man running the Australian economy. He writes an article in the Financial Timessaying there is a 'crisis of confidence in the world'. You know what? I do not get any more confident about the world when Wayne Swan is out there. I do not feel more confident about Australia when the Treasurer gets up and says we are in good shape. This is the man that said the carbon tax would be 'roughly budget neutral'. Budget neutral? It is a $4.2 billion hole in the budget.

They said they would deliver a surplus in this budget, and this was only a few weeks ago. I was sitting over here with my colleagues listening intently to the Treasurer and I refreshed my memory of the budget. In the budget he said this:

We'll be back in the black by 2012-13, on time, as promised.

The alternative—meandering back to surplus—would compound the pressures in our economy and push up the cost of living for pensioners and working people.

We will reach surplus despite company tax is not recovering like our economy.

And he also said:

Our spending restraint means real growth in spending averages 1 per cent …

So he said 'things are tough, but we're going to get the budget back to surplus because that takes the pressure off pensioners and working people'. Well, today the Prime Minister conceded that the budget is not going to get back to surplus in 2012-13, which means the Prime Minister has conceded that Labor, under her, is now going to make life harder for pensioners and working people. This is her own Treasurer; this is the guy that stood up in this place and delivered a budget and now he is saying, 'I'm sorry, we're going to have to dump that promise.' Today of all days is the day: 'We had dumped a promise on the carbon tax and now we dump a promise on a surplus.' All of the indicators have been going for months: before he even stood in this place he was recognising that consumer confidence is down, building approvals are down, credit growth is down—all of those things. It was happening months ago, and yet he stood in this place a few weeks ago and said emphatically, 'We will deliver a surplus in 2012-13, I promise.'

Like his Prime Minister, the Treasurer has broken a promise. If he wonders why the Australian people are not listening to him as Treasurer, if he wonders why people are cocooning, saving money, walking away from taking a risk and walking away from discretionary spending, he should look no further than this simple fact: the Labor Party cannot be trusted. The Prime Minister cannot be trusted. The Treasurer cannot be trusted. They are deceiving the Australian people, and the Australian people will punish them at the next election.