Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Matter of Public Importance: Standard of Living - 12 May 2015

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (15:50): Well, it is budget day and, like budget day last year, we have just seen another insubstantial performance from those opposite. The Leader of the Opposition proposed his matter of public importance on the standard of living and barely mentioned it. The member for Canberra did talk about the subject briefly. But then particularly the last speaker, like all their members, did not address the topic of their own matter of public importance. Instead he came in here to practise his lines in some sort of vain competition with those behind him.

The member for Canberra, like those opposite, here on budget day is stuck in a fantasy world where they deny their past fiscal failure and they offer no solutions to the nation's problems. Just to take one example, the member for Canberra bemoaned the policy decision to increase the age pension age, as if this had never been spoken about. But she sat in a government where the ministers responsible—the former Treasurer, Mr Swan, and the former minister, Ms Macklin—said this in 2009:

Increasing the age pension age is a responsible reform to meet the challenge of an ageing population and the economic impact it will have for all Australians.

… … …

Australia must move towards a higher pension age over the next decade.

That was the announcement on budget night in 2009.

We did not hear any stories about her mother and her friend being scared shopping, based on a Labor announcement, because those opposite—

Ms Burke interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: The member for Chisholm, who I know very well, is not treated—no, I will not say it. But we know one thing about the member for Chisholm—and I have a soft spot for the member for Chisholm—and that is that, whenever she feels that the Labor Party is vulnerable, she interjects wildly and incomprehensibly. That is what the member for Chisholm does.

Ms Burke interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: There she goes again! Is the member for Chisholm speaking on this MPI?

Ms Burke interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: Very, very interesting. But, of course, the member for Canberra either ignored Labor's policy announcement in 2009 or she is completely ignorant of the subject. Let us take the Leader of the Opposition's matter of public importance on the standard of living. He does not talk about it, but this side of the House is focused on it. We have had a families and childcare package that those opposite have criticised but that they have no alternative to. When they were in government they pursued policies that did not work. Their solution to every problem was to borrow money and spend it in areas where there were no improvements—and child care would have to be their best example of that when it came to standard of living.

What about small business and job creation? For those who are unemployed and underemployed, a stronger economy and a job do a lot for their standard of living. But what about the 519,000 people in small business who lost their jobs when those opposite where in office? They were not worried about their standard of living. They were not worried about the standard of living of small businesses when they introduced their carbon tax, where small business got no compensation and it put their costs up and reduced their ability to be competitive and to employ. They were not worried about standard of living then. And they have had absolutely nothing to say about building a stronger enterprise-focused economy where there would be more opportunity and more jobs.

It is just hours until the budget—and with this MPI we have already seen Labor's approach. We do not have to wait until Thursday night for it; we have seen it. They will give political speeches, they will deny their fiscal failure, they will offer no solutions to the problems that exist with the budget and they will offer no innovation on their own side on how to create a stronger economy with more jobs and more support for families. Without a stronger economy, you are not going to have a stronger budget and you are not going to have an ability to do the things that we all want to do to support families, small business and the broader community. (Time expired)

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