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Wednesday, 19 June 1996
Page: 1860

Senator SHERRY (Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate)(6.14 p.m.) —Senator Watson gave a splendid speech in support of our amendment. It was a splendid speech, Senator, and I invite you to come over here and vote with us, along with all of your other colleagues who, over the years, made speech after speech about the uplift factor. It was a splendid speech, Senator Watson. It is a pleasure for the Labor opposition to congratulate a government member for his contribution in supporting us on this amendment. It really is a pleasure. As I said earlier, you should be down on the front bench, dealing with these tax matters, because we would get some accurate information.

Senator Bob Collins —You are making him blush.

Senator SHERRY —I am making you blush. Senator, you said that the figure is being set in accordance with the economic expectations of the time. Unless you are very pessimistic over there about inflation going up to five or six per cent or you know economic forecasts that you are not telling us, not that you are telling us much anyway in question time or anywhere else, if economic expectations are what they are as a result of the legacy of our government—very good eco nomic growth, very low inflation, the highest job growth in 20 years; all of the great economic legacies we left you—then what better time to lock in the six per cent figure to help small business and self-funded retirees.

As I said earlier, this will return over the two financial years 1997-98 and 1998-99 a total of $540 million to the constituency that you claim to represent—small business and self-funded retirees.

It will be with great pride that I will go out representing the Labor opposition—it is good to see Senator Boswell; I hope you are going to cross the floor, too—to the small farming communities, to the small businesses and self-funded retirees, and remind them of this. I will give due credit to Senator Kernot and the Democrats for helping support us in returning $540 million to those essential areas of the small business economy and self-funded retirees. I am new to this position. I have been in this position for three months and I am enjoying it.

Senator Bob Collins —You look as though you are.

Senator SHERRY —I am enjoying it because I care about small business and I care about self-funded retirees. It is a real pleasure to be here supporting them as the opposition spokesperson responsible for this matter. We will be reminding them in three years when the election comes, if that is when it is held, of what we have done in the Senate to protect their interests. We will remind them of what you did—how you have broken your promise and how John Howard, with his hand on his heart, and Peter Costello and Senator Short and Senator Boswell did this. We will remind them about how you have broken a promise—to rip off $540 million from them. That is $540 million which, with great pride, we vote today to return to them.