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Monday, 18 June 2018
Page: 3071


Senator KETTER (QueenslandDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (15:23): The voters of Longman in some weeks' time will have a clear choice between former member Susan Lamb and Labor, who believe in a fair and responsible budgets, in addressing inequality, in evening up the playing field between the rich and the poor and in helping low- and middle-income earners struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table. That's on the one hand. The choice on the other hand is a former member of the Newman state government, which made such vicious cuts to jobs, health and education in Queensland. Queensland is still recovering from the deep cuts that the Newman government was responsible for. In question time today, the minister wanted to throw epithets back at the Labor Party, describing us as socialists, simply because we want hardworking Queenslanders and all Australians to benefit from much better tax cuts and much more quickly. We want to see 63,000 people in Longman get the benefit of the $928 in tax cuts, which is almost double that which this government is preparing to offer. But, of course, there are strings attached with this government. They want to play political games with that by tying it to the unfair elements of their total package. We know that Mr Turnbull is not looking after the state of Queensland. We know that his priority is handing $80 billion to big business and the banks and that the biggest winners from Mr Turnbull's personal-income-tax package are the wealthy electorates in Sydney and Melbourne. We know this from modelling by the respected organisation NATSEM and the Australia Institute.

I just want to go to the top 10 federal electorates that will benefit from this package, according to the Australia Institute. Of course, No. 1, as we've heard in question time today, is Wentworth. The Prime Minister's own electorate is the main beneficiary of this tax plan—surprise, surprise. Then we go in order: North Sydney, Warringah, Sydney, Melbourne Ports, Higgins, Bradfield, Kooyong, Grayndler and Goldstein. Seven of those top 10 beneficiaries of this government's tax plan are Liberal electorates.

It's quite clear that the biggest winners from this tax proposal are the wealthy electorates of Sydney and Melbourne. We can see that all of the top 10 electorates come from those cities. The average household in any one of these top 10 electorates would get at least 50 per cent more than the average Australian household. As I've said, the Prime Minister's own seat of Wentworth is the largest beneficiary. The average increase in disposable income for households in Wentworth is almost twice that of the average household and more than 2½ times that of the average household in the lowest ranked electorate.

When you come to the bottom 10 electorates, those electorates which miss out on the benefit of the tax cuts, we see that Longman is there. It's in the bottom 10, at 77 per cent of the average of the benefit. This analysis comes from NATSEM. It's not Labor Party analysis. It's from a respected economics firm. There are three Queensland electorates on the list: Hinkler, Wide Bay and Longman as well.

According to the polling done by the Australia Institute, voters recognise that the Turnbull tax package fails the fairness test. In contrast, Labor's better, fairer tax plan would give low- and middle-income earners in Longman bigger tax cuts—as I said earlier, in many cases double what's on the table now. Under Labor, a worker on $50,000 a year—which is close to the median income; there are just as many people earning above that as people earning below that—will receive a tax cut of $928 a year, up from what the government's proposing, $530. A couple earning $90,000 and $65,000 respectively will receive a tax cut of $1,855 a year, up from $1,060 from the government. Labor's plan would see 63,000 people in Longman up to $928 better off.

This is on top of our commitment to restoring the billions of dollars in coalition cuts to health and education across the country. In Longman, the coalition cuts to health funding would mean almost $3 million less funding in the Caboolture Hospital, whereas the Shorten Labor government would invest an extra $10 million for a new chemotherapy centre at the Caboolture Hospital. In Longman, the cuts will cost local schools around $17 million over the next two years.

The federal Liberal budget fails the fairness test. The tax package fails the fairness test. (Time expired)

Question agreed to.