Priorities for 2018

The good people of the electorate of Whitlam, covering the southern Illawarra suburbs and Southern Highlands of New South Wales, send me to this place to represent their interests and to ensure that the government of this place has a vision, a plan, that is going to move their lives forward—that is going to give their children an opportunity to ensure they are not going backwards, deal with the cost of living and the future of their kids' education, and ensure their kids have got jobs.

Sadly, the government have a plan for tax cuts for the big end of town, but they do not have a plan to raise the wages of ordinary workers.

Let's have a look at their decision to support penalty rate cuts, because this is the strangest thing that we can imagine—a government that agrees, reluctantly, that one of the most pressing economic reforms that is needed in this country is to give ordinary workers a pay rise, yet they are supporting a decision which will see up to 700,000 workers get a pay cut because their penalty rates are going to be reduced or removed. Cutting penalty rates will see a pay cut for low-paid workers in my electorate of up to $77 a week. The Liberal Party member who represents the electorate just south of me, the member for Gilmore, has said this is going to be a gift for young workers. Well, it is anything but that. Close to 7½ thousand retail workers and over 4,000 food and accommodation workers are going to be affected by this.

The Prime Minister likes to say that the corporate tax cuts are going to provide a benefit for ordinary Australians—they simply are not. If we look at where the corporate tax cuts are going, we see that over four times the amount of benefit goes to electorates like the one the Prime Minister lives in and the one the deputy leader of the Liberals lives in, but not to electorates like mine. In fact, four times more of the benefits are going to those sorts of electorates than to Whitlam or, say, Eden-Monaro or Gilmore. This is simply not a plan for the people of my electorate; this is a plan to divert money away from education, health care and Medicare, away from those who need it most to those who need it least.