THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2017
I move — That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving the following motion forthwith.
That the House:
a. The Prime Minister has today introduced cuts to family payments which will mean over a million families will be worse off;
b. The Prime Minister is hurting Australian families with his cuts to family payments and paid parental leave to give a $50 billion handout to big businesses, including the big banks;
c. The Prime Minister is punishing some of the most vulnerable people in Australia, including pensioners and carers, with his robo-debt mess; and
2. Therefore, condemns the Prime Minister for:
a. Being so out of touch that his hopelessly divided Government punishes families, pensioners, carers and new mums while giving a $50 billion handout to big businesses;
b. Being unable to explain how cutting $2.7 billion in family payments leaves families better off; and
c. For being so distracted by the chaos within his Government that he’s only focused on looking after himself and not Australian families.
Mr Harbourside Mansion is attacking the standard of living of over a million Australian families.
The story of these cuts today is that the Prime Minister is taking $2.7 billion from Australian families and yet he proposes giving $7.4 billion to big banks in tax giveaways.
This Prime Minister is seriously the most out-of-touch personality to ever hold this great office of Prime Minister.
Tough on pensioners, soft on banks.
Tax cuts for millionaires and payment cuts for Australian families.
This is the Liberal-National version of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
We asked the Prime Minister, not once, but several times today – to spell out exactly how many Australian families will see a reduction in their family payments.
How many Australian families?
And this slippery fellow currently in the position of Prime Minister spoke about the child care changes.
He deliberately understands and chose to ignore and mistreat Question Time and not tell the Australian people the truth.
He knows that in order to pay for some child care changes, he is reducing the payments to over 1 million Australian families.
And we hear this Minister for Social Services interjecting. If you were doing your day job properly, sunshine, we wouldn't be seeing these cuts to family payments.
The key to the dishonesty of this government, including all of the members of it, the key to the dishonesty of today's legislation, is they wants to stand there, pat themselves on the back, they want a bunch of flowers. They’ll probably give themselves the afternoon off because they say:
‘Look at us! We are proposing legislative change in child care’.
But the truth is in the numbers.
They are reducing what they pay to Australian families by $2.7 billion over the next four years.
It is in black and white and the explanatory memorandum.
Here we have the Prime Minister saying: 'Look over here and what we're doing with child care'.
But what they seem to forget is that after kids go to child care they go to school, and when they go to school there are costs and family payments.
And then we had the Minister for Social Services get up and say because Labor has previously supported some means-testing, therefore they have got a blank cheque to rob a million Australian families. No you don't.
No you don't.
And I thought, where have I heard this proposal from the Government before?
Where have I heard it before?
The 2014 budget. The 2014 budget.
You rolled the poor old Member for Warringah, but now you're actually in a new camouflage, in a new suit, selling the same rotten changes to the Australian people.
At least the member for Warringah said it for what it was. This fellow will say and do anything to keep his job.
You can tell a government not just by the personality - but by the priorities of their policies. And the Australian people are on to you.
A $50 billion tax give away for multinationals and large companies. $50 billion, principally going in a tax ram-raid on the budget to large companies.
That is their great economic plan.
They don't talk about the old Trans-Pacific Partnership any more. That lasted less time than then your proposal to increase the GST.
Their economic plan is a $50 billion corporate tax cut - and to pay for that by going after Australian families.
We draw a line in the sand on this $2.7 billion cut to family payments.
We are not buying it and the Australian people are not buying it.
This is a government who didn't have a great summer.
They lost the Health Minister.
They did the robo-calls on the Centrelink recipients.
We heard about Mr Heynatz in the seat of Rankin. We heard about the question from the Shadow Minister for Social Services.
These are real people.
This Prime Minister says: 'Oh, the Opposition are not asking questions about important issues'.
We are focusing on the people. We are focusing on pensioners.
We're focusing on standing up for those on Centrelink. In Labor we don't think every Centrelink recipient is automatically, by default, a cheat.
We don't treat our fellow Australians as someone deserving to be targeted by a clumsy system mail-out.
But then today, we see the legislation on family payments and this government has proposed in their legislation today not just cuts to families of school age children, but to pensioners.
Of course, over the summer, some bright spark in the Government thought they should spy on the veterans to see if they really have PTSD by monitoring their social media.
I thought they had a bad summer. Of course, we won't even go near the biggest donation in history.
But do you know what? That is looking like a summer of joy in the last 48 hours.
Not only have we given up on the Government, their South Australian senator has given up on the Government.
We will keep fighting to defend family payments. We will keep fighting to expose the charade of this government's position.
At the heart of this government's position is the following proposition.
They say, on the one hand: ‘Look at us, aren't we good? We are doing things in child care’ but on the other hand, all of this Question Time, they haven't answered the question.
How many Australian families are having a reduction in their payments? How many?
I tell you what, my respect for you might go up an inch or two, Mr Prime Minister, if you come to the dispatch box and just spell out how many Australian families are losing or seeing reductions in their family payments, families with school-aged children.
You have ducked and weaved that question all Question Time.
No matter how often you duck and weave it, no matter how often you hide from it, we will get the number out of you. We will speak up for families.
This is a very divided Government.
Their only plan for the Australian economy is to kill the confidence of Australian families.
They treat the people on the pension as somehow second-class.
They treat people on Centrelink as somehow second-class.
I actually thought in the first three question times of this week, the beleaguered Minister for Human Services would have enough self-respect, when asked a question about Centrelink, to get up and say: "I am sorry, we got it wrong".
Just a bit of humility would go a very long way. But that is not the trademark of this Government.
We will fight for family payments.
The Prime Minister is not just out-of-touch with today's legislation. It shows he is out of ideas - and rapidly running out of time.
His own party know it too.
The difference is, every time this Prime Minister sees an issue, he turns it into politics about Labor.
We say to the Prime Minister today, if you wants to take a step forward in terms of Australian politics, if you want to take a step forward in terms of your own approval of what Australians think of your government - focus on what matters.
The Labor Party is focused on what matters to Australians.
We will stand up for Australian jobs.
We will do something about reforming the visa system.
We will stand up for Australian apprenticeships.
We will make sure we have proper needs-based funding in our schools.
If you want to find money in the budget, rather than reaching down into the pockets of over a million Australian families of school-aged children, what we think you should do is:
Reform negative gearing.
Reform the capital gains tax deduction system.
Don't pass on $50 billion in corporate tax cuts.
If you want to find some money, go after some of the top end of town, rather than going after everyone else.
The Prime Minister doesn't have plan for Medicare. His only plan for Medicare is to change the salesman. That doesn't fill people with a lot of confidence.
But he also doesn't have a plan for housing affordability, does he?
This fellow is so out-of-touch that his only advice to Australians is: “Get rich parents.”
Well that's not a housing affordable policy.
We stand for families, we don't support the cuts. We will back Medicare and we will make sure housing affordable is a reality in the country.