Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Page: 4265

Mr PASIN (Barker) (18:54): Following the member for Scullin, as I have, I was sitting here thinking, 'Maybe he's talking about an Australia I don't know.' That might be right, but he wants to paint a very dark and dim picture of Australia and Australians in May 2018. I don't share his pessimism. I'll tell you what is dark and dim: 12 months ago today 415,000 Australians were getting up and embarking on a job search. Those very same Australians, 415,000 of them, are today in employment. That is a product of the plan that we began, the very difficult journey you and I began, Mr Deputy Speaker Goodenough, when we came to this parliament together in September 2013, and we're starting to see the dividends of that very difficult work.

The member of Scullin also wants to talk about inequality. I think it's his second-favourite subject after those in his electorate and otherwise in the country who are seeking asylum. His view of equality and mine are very different. He wants to argue for an equality of outcome. I'm passionate about equality of opportunity, and my own family is a great example of this. My parents came separately to this country in 1961—my father, in particular, with a suitcase, nothing more. He has eked out a life for himself. He's educated three children; he has the privilege of grandchildren.

While I'm rounding out on the member for Scullin's contribution, we saw there, if you like, the subtle messaging that's going out to Labor Left supporters, and maybe also those in the building. They want to tell us they're on a unity ticket with us in relation to border security, but you hear it every day—anything but. We heard it from the member for Batman in her maiden contribution. We hear it again—

Ms Ryan interjecting

Mr PASIN: Well, maybe for you. It will always be a maiden contribution for me, Ms Ryan. In that context, let me talk, in this appropriation bill debate, about the budget that was delivered by the Treasurer the last time this place met. What's it about? It's about delivering a stronger economy, an economy that creates yet more jobs—more than the million that we've created since 2013. It's about guaranteeing the essential services Australians rely on. In our budget plan, we're delivering tax relief which will encourage and reward hardworking Australians. It will create more jobs by backing small business, boosting exports, building vital road and rail infrastructure, and making energy more affordable. It guarantees essential services like Medicare, hospitals, schools and care for older Australians. It's a budget that's focused on keeping Australians safe. And, of course—and in my view most importantly—it's a budget that ensures government lives within its means.

The Australian economy is pulling out of a tough period, but it's making real progress. I've mentioned the 415,000 jobs that have been created in the last 12 months alone, three-quarters of which are full time. As a result of the budget delivered last sitting week, it is expected that the deficit will arrive at a surplus a year earlier.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr PASIN: If those opposite want to engage in a debate with me, I'm happy to, because, quite frankly, I think we should be proud of this budget.

Mr Perrett interjecting

Mr PASIN: The member for Moreton can chime in all he likes, but those opposite hate our plan because that plan is delivering outcomes. Our plan is the very document that's going to deliver us government in 2019 and a further term of opposition to those opposite. Why do I say that? I say that because the member for Scullin in his contribution talked about a dark place, with no opportunity for people in his electorate. Well, maybe that's because he's been speaking to people who are negatively gearing. Under a prospective Labor government, that is a dark prospect. Maybe he's been speaking to people who enjoy refunds via dividend imputation. That's a dark prospect under a Labor government. I don't represent those people; I represent people who are bullish about their prospects, who are enjoying the recovery of the Australian economy.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I won't bore you with contributions about our tax plan, because it's a tax plan to incentivise Australians, to provide immediate relief to low- and middle-income earners, to deal with the scourge of bracket creep in the medium term and, in the long term, to get into a position where 94 per cent of Australians pay no more than 32.5c in a dollar. Why is that important? It's important because we want to incentivise people to work more. Why is that important? It's important because we want to incentivise people to work more. We want to incentivise people to do the training, to upskill, to become a more valuable contributor to the economy and from their own personal perspective.

What about the business tax cuts that those opposite are so opposed to? In my electorate there are 19,201 local businesses with turnovers of up to $50 million. That's 19,201 businesses that would benefit from medium business tax cuts. The member for Scullin, in his contribution, said that there's nothing for his electorate in this budget. That's certainly not the case in my electorate.

An honourable member interjecting

Mr PASIN: The member opposite bemoans, nothing for her in her electorate in Tasmania. I'm looking forward to the return of Brett Whiteley for Braddon, because he achieved outcomes for Braddon in your state of Tasmania. I know those opposite are very nervous about the outcome of that election. I'm very happy looking forward to the return of Brett Whiteley. But let me talk about my electorate for a minute. Agriculture is so important for my electorate. There's $51.3 million contributing to Australian exports.

Honourable members interjecting

Mr PASIN: I'm laughing because the contribution of those opposite is so laughable, with respect. Enjoying as I am the contribution from those opposite, I want to highlight forestry. There is $20 million to support the forestry sector. That is very important to my electorate. There is a further round of the Building Better Regions Fund, something my electorate has benefited from significantly in round 1, and let's hope in round 2.

Regional health is a real issue for those of us who live in rural, regional and remote communities. The budget strategy will deliver around 3,000 additional doctors and more than 3,000 additional nurses. I welcome the additional funding to Lifeline, which disproportionately services constituents in rural, regional and remote Australia, and of course the funding for mental health research at $125 million over the prospective 10 years.

Aged care is a real focus of this budget. There is a lot more to do, I accept that. Those opposite, quite frankly, dropped the ball. They forget that they were in government from 2007 to 2013. Sadly, those opposite don't realise that the damage they wreaked, their inactivity in this space, can't be corrected in a short period. It needs to be corrected long term.

Honourable members interjecting

Mr PASIN: You know when you've scratched an itch, because those opposite are like the salmon that grabs the worm. They jump on the hook for you. I need to mention my good friend, Brett Whiteley in the seat of Braddon. I'll probably get another one if I throw it out there. He is someone who knows about aged constituents and fighting on their behalf. The people of Braddon won't be hoodwinked this time by Mediscare, I can tell you that much for nothing.

The National School Chaplaincy Program is back, I'm pleased to say. It's a fantastic program that deliver pastoral support into schools throughout the country, particularly in my electorate. It's something that school principals were very keen to see reinstated, and it has been reinstated. The program of $3.5 billion for upgrading key freight corridors in the Roads of Strategic Importance program is something I'm focused on squarely. I'm sure those opposite would agree with me about the Stronger Communities Program—it's rolling out yet again a further and fourth round of those small community grants that we can give to not-for-profits, sporting and other groups in our communities that make such a significant difference, whether it's soup kitchens like the Sunset Community Kitchen in Mount Gambier in my electorate, or for example the East Gambier Football Club to ensure they can drought-proof their football oval via rainwater tanks and the water savings that come with that.

This is, as I have said, a dividend in this budget that is being been delivered on the back of five years of difficult work. How can we do this? In fact, some in my electorate have said: 'How can you be so generous in this budget? How can you offer the tax relief you are offering and yet return to surplus a year earlier than was planned?' Quite frankly, because we're enjoying the benefits of over a million Australians who—

Mr Perrett interjecting

Mr PASIN: when we came to government for those opposite, were unemployed. Over a million Australians who got up this morning were previously unemployed. Indeed, 12 months ago there were 415,000 Australians who were getting up and looking for a job. They were in receipt, no doubt, of some sort of support, as they should be in those circumstances, but today they contribute to the tax receipts of this nation.

Mr Perrett interjecting

Mr PASIN: For those opposite, it's a two-goal turn around: no longer are we paying them a benefit to look for a job; they are paying income tax to government, which allows us the flexibility to do the kinds of things that are important to Australians. To list more drugs on the PBS; to invest in infrastructure; to secure more regional doctors and nurses; to provide for further rounds of the Building Better Regions Fund: to do all of these things and yet return to surplus a year earlier than what was planned.

Those opposite have a different plan. I think it's probably best described as magic pudding economics. They want to tax less, spend more and have more left over, and you wonder why we think that's a little unbelievable. It's unbelievable. Those across the way think they had found a plan. They say, 'We're going to tax you less, but we're going to spend more and we're going to have more left over.' You know what? I call that rubbish. It's absolute rubbish. It was just like Kevin Rudd in 2007: 'I'm a fiscal conservative.' Sadly, too many Australians fell for that rubbish and we ended up with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. We then saw a proliferation of spending announcements, the kind of unfettered spending that just kept rolling and rolling and rolling and rolling.

Mr Perrett interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Morton is warned.

Mr PASIN: On the other hand we have a plan. We have a plan that delivers tax relief. We have a plan that creates more jobs and that will back business to create yet further jobs. We've got a plan that will guarantee essential services. We've got a plan that will keep Australians safe. And we've got a plan, most importantly, to ensure that the Australian government lives within its means. I commend the appropriation bills.