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Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Page: 6813


Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:55): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. I refer to the coalition government's cuts to health, education, pensions, the ABC and SBS in its first budget. Does the Prime Minister stand by his statement that he supports:

… unreservedly and wholeheartedly every element in the Budget. Every single one.


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:56): I indicate to the honourable senator that Australian pensioners have not received a cut to their pension. In fact, they have received an increase every March and September during the term of this government, completely in line with that which has been in place. So for Senator Carr to assert that Australian pensioners have had cuts is simply false, especially when you take into account that we removed the carbon tax and nevertheless retained all the compensation for pensioners for the carbon tax. So not only did they get their twice yearly increases; they also got the compensation for the carbon tax in circumstances where we removed the carbon tax.

So here you have yet again another snapshot of Senator Carr mispresenting to the Australian people that which is the actual fact. Indeed, the budget papers would tell the honourable senator, if he had the capacity to read them, that there was in fact an increase for hospitals and for schools. These matters are all there for Senator Carr to read and honestly tell the Australian people. But, having left such a legacy of debt and deficit and so anxious to cover it up, the Australian Labor Party have embarked on a campaign of misinformation. So gross is their campaign of misinformation that they even vote against their own savings measures in this place. So they go to the Australian people and promise $5 billion worth of savings, and then, when we put up those Labor savings, they vote against them, man and woman, under the leadership of Mr Shorten. (Time expired)


Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:58): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Does the Prime Minister support the $100,000 university degrees?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:58): What the Prime Minister does support is reform of the tertiary sector. But, yet again, what we have from the Australian Labor Party are the falsehoods and the distortions suggesting that there would be $100,000 university degrees—something which the vice chancellors of this country have deliberately debunked and said to Senator Carr and the Australian Labor Party that those assertions are false. But does having been told they are false stop Senator Carr from repeating the falsehoods? Of course not, because not only do they not have a policy compass, neither do they have a moral compass in relation to how to engage in the public discourse in country. So the Labor Party think that if they peddle falsehood after falsehood after falsehood somehow the Australian people might just start to believe some of the falsehoods. Our task is to ensure that they do not, and we will continue to expose the lies of the Labor Party. (Time expired)


Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:59): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Does the Prime Minister support the $80 billion of cuts to schools and hospitals?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:59): What a ridiculous question in circumstances where the Australian people know that that which the Australian Labor Party allegedly promised to the Australian people they did so without a single red cent of funding—

Senator Cormann: Nothing in the budget.

Senator ABETZ: Nothing at all in the budget. So who would have presided over such a gross misrepresentation? The failed former finance minister Senator Wong, who takes her instructions on a daily basis from her former employer, the CFMEU. So, like the CFMEU, which has no moral compass and is willing to misrepresent everything in relation to trade union corruption, so similarly the Australian Labor Party is willing to misrepresent the budget task that was bequeathed to us—namely, to remove the millstone of deficit and debt that was bequeathed to the next generation. The Prime Minister is committed to fixing the malaise of the— (Time expired)

Senator Abetz: Mr President, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.