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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2799

Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance) (15:36): The good old National Party. Great to see the member for Richmond over there—a lover of the National Party. Good to see the member for Wakefield over there—and that he has lasted this long. But it is always a pleasure to see the member for McMahon sitting there right opposite me. In this matter of public importance the member for McMahon talked about Labor's record as opposed to our record. Of course, he was the immigration minister, and in the financial years July 2010 to June 2013 he was a bit like Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships. In his case it was not quite 1,000, but 602—38,096 illegal boat arrivals came on his watch.

But let's talk about a few other members of the Labor Party front bench. We have the member for Grayndler, who promised roads but could not and would not fund them. Luckily, theDeputy Prime Minister, the member for Wide Bay and the Nationals leader, is getting on with the job of doing what the member for Grayndler could not do. The member for Watson pinched water from my farmers and other irrigation farmers in other electorates too—kept buying it back. He made farmers account for every single drop of water, but then wanted to buy all this water back and did so for the environment which they knew they could never deliver. Then we had the member for Lilley—debt and deficit were his trademarks, absolutely.

I am so glad that the Assistant Treasurer and the Prime Minister today announced that we, the coalition, are going to deliver on our commitment to improve the way unclaimed money in banking accounts and life insurance policies is managed. The member for Maribyrnong, when he was the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation in 2012, in the previous government, reduced the period of time that inactive bank accounts were declared unclaimed from seven years to three years.

I have this report from the Hervey Bay Independent. On 31 May 2013, it wrote:

The family of a 95-year-old Hervey Bay pensioner who had $50,000 forfeited from a bank account because it hadn't been used for seven years is warning others to be aware of the laws.

Craignish resident Jan Powell said she was shocked last week when she went to check the status of an account her mother Doris Osborne opened in 2002 established to pay her own funeral costs, and found the balance had gone from $49,000 to—what do you think, member for Lyne or member for Page?

Dr Gillespie: Zero.

Mr Hogan: Zero.

Mr McCORMACK: That is it, zero—from $49,000 to zero. And we heard from the Treasurer today talking about the unclaimed money—$550 million. The member for Oxley was yelling out, 'Where are you going to account for that?' But it was 156,000 bank accounts. It is theft. It is absolute theft.

You talk about the Labor Party and the live cattle ban. On the night of 7 June 2011, the $700 million a year live cattle trade was stopped—just like that—because of a Four Corners show on the Monday of the previous week. What an absolute disgrace. You look at the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Maribyrnong. He is shallow; he is see-through; he is superficial. The Australian public are on to that. They are absolutely on to that. He is quick to criticise but offers absolutely no alternative. His party is divided. The member for Sydney wants his job, and he only offers weak leadership.

This government are listening. We are getting on with the job. We have scrapped the carbon tax. We have scrapped the mining tax. We are building the roads of the 21st century—Warren Truss is doing a great job of that.

What have we got opposite? We have a Labor Party who do not ever actually tell us how they are ever going to fund anything. They come out all the time and they carp and whine and carry on about everything, but they never offer any financial alternative as to how they are going to pay for anything. We know what they are going to do. They are going to up taxes. They are going to reintroduce the carbon tax. They are going to do all of those things which hurt families and which hurt business. There is nobody on that side who has ever really run a fair dinkum business. We know that. We are the party of business people.

Ms Butler: The National Party!

Mr McCORMACK: The coalition are building a strong and prosperous economy—yes; the National Party, member for Griffith. We, the coalition, hold the record of the largest infrastructure spend in Australian history. We know that the education minister is a fixer. He is a fixer. In fact, there are 89 other fixers, apart from the Minister for Education and Training, on this side because we are fixing the debt and deficit legacy left by that side opposite.

By investing in infrastructure, by building the roads and the water infrastructure of the 21st century, we are creating jobs, opportunity and reward. We are getting on with the job of restoring this country to the great country it can and will be after it was left almost in ruin by those opposite.