Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:33): Mr Deputy Speaker:
The fundamental test of a budget is how it improves the wellbeing of the Australian people.
These were the words of the then Leader of the Opposition in his first budget in-reply speech in 2011. Clearly he has failed his own test, and he has failed the people of the Illawarra, because this budget is nothing less than a kick in the guts for the people of my electorate—and I would say for everybody who believes in a country that has a fair go for all.
The $7 GP tax is a declaration of war on Medicare, using the patients as its victims. It is a clear attempt to force doctors to axe bulk billing. Pensions: more than 50,000 local pensioners in my electorate are going to have their benefits cut. The unemployed are not going to be spared. In an area where we have two per cent above the national average unemployment rate, they are going to be left to fend for themselves for more than six months, but with nothing—absolutely nothing—to help job creation in the regions. Students: well, you have cigar-chomping snobs thinking that affordable education sullies the graduation hall with people who do not deserve an education. The answer? Uncap student fees. The message to Australia is clear: do not grow old, do not lose your job, do not dream of going to university, and do not get crook. And if you do, you had better take your credit card, because your Medicare card will not get you in the door.