Bill's Speeches

SPEECH - MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - CANBERRA - THURSDAY, 22 JUNE 2017

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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Australians should be aware that 9 days from now, we will see the unfairness of the Liberal-Coalition's Australia writ large.

In 9 days from now, in the world that the Prime Minister envisages for this country, if you earn $1 million, courtesy of the Turnbull Government, you're going to get a $16,400 tax cut.

But at the same time on the same day, in some real irony, 700,000 workers who are covered by hospitality, retail, pharmacy and fast food - under their awards, their penalty rates will be reduced. And not for an offset, or a wage rise - it is just a pay cut. 

Under Prime Minister Turnbull, the first weekend of July means a wage cut for workers and a tax cut for millionaires.

Nine days from now, Australian families will start to pay the price of this government's 4 years of failure on energy policy.

Power prices are set to increase by up to:

-       19.6 per cent in New South Wales. 

-       7.3 per cent in Queensland and

-       nearly 20 per cent in South Australia.

And every time the Prime Minister says the problem is fixed, the electricity prices go up.

The people of Australia are wondering what is going on with this government. They keep hearing that the Prime Minister has solved the energy crisis.

But every time they hear that the Prime Minister has solved the problem, they keep hearing from their gas and electricity companies about a new price rise - 7 per cent, 14 per cent, 18 per cent.

The Prime Minister keeps wanting to blame Labor but they have been in government for four years. The Prime Minister says that now they've “fixed the gas crisis caused by Labor". But where was this government for the last four years?

They should hand back their wages because if they want to pretend they weren't there, then they are taking their wages under false pretences. 

And when they talk about the causes of rising prices, there is always one cause that this conservative, right wing hopeless government never concedes: privatisation of energy assets. 

We have seen rising power prices hit the hip pocket time and time again at a time when wage growth is at historic lows.

From 1959 to today, income and wages in this country are at their lowest proportion of the national economy since records were kept.

And what did the Prime Minister say about wages growth when the Shadow Treasurer asked about it on Tuesday?

I am going to give you the exact quote because it tells you so much about the out-of-touch world that the Prime Minister inhabits:

“Low wages growth is an issue, it is. We are very aware of it. That is why we are supporting Australian business. But corporate profits are at record highs and wages growth is at record lows.”

Corporate profits are at record highs and wages growth is at record lows.

[Government members interjecting]

There is the old Member for Mitchell – trickle-down economics 101 guru.

He says 'Oh, if the corporates get more profits, the wages will go up'. That disconnect has been proven in the last economic data.

Let us be clear about this country: under Malcolm Turnbull, the rich are getting richer,  the poor are getting poorer and the middle class are getting squeezed.

No wage rises, productivity growth anaemic, economic growth desperately dependent on terms-of-trade overseas and no plan to look after the average battler - oh, no - they have got a plan actually.

The millionaires get a tax cut, the big corporates get a tax cut and average working class people in this country, they have to pay more income tax.

And then they give you a 'Medicare guarantee'. If you ever see that on the shelf in the pharmacy, run 100 miles away. 

Let me tell you what is behind the badge of a 'Liberal Medicare guarantee' 

What it says is the freeze will still be in place on 1 July 2017, 1 July 2018, 1 July 2019:

-       GP consults for chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes will be frozen until 2020. 

-       GP items to treat pregnant women and women who have recently had a child will be frozen until 2020.

-       Rebates for GPs to conduct pap smears will be frozen until 2020. 

-       Rebates for GPs to have mental health assessments for people will be frozen until 2020.

And all the time, we get these patronising lectures from the establishment class of this country saying, 'It's all about Australian values.' 

We heard the Prime Minister actually look like he was trapped in his own body last week and this week when he talked about Australian patriotism— as if Australians need to be lectured by the top end of town about loving this country. 

They say that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Look how this government seeks to wrap themselves up in our national flag while they attack the fair go in this country. 

We are not copping a lecture on Australian values from a Minister for Immigration who would not support the Apology to the Stolen Generation. 

As for a university English language test, give us a break. Most days in parliament, the Deputy Prime Minister would be flat out trying to pass that.

As for the Prime Minister's values, why on earth has this desperate party - so keen and hungry to have Senator Hanson's references -  why has no-one in this government called out her disgusting attack on children with Autism? 

I make a promise to every parent in this country with a child with a disability: we will stop the forced segregation of kids with disability out of our mainstream schooling system. It is long overdue for all of you on that side to join us to say no to Senator Hanson's segregation in our schools.

And today we had to listen to them lecture us about respecting the rule of law. 

But I saw at least three ministers of the crown, the Minister for Health and—

[Government members interjecting]

He says, 'Give it up'. No way, son.

No way are we going to let you lecture us, when three of you, 'the Yarra 3', went out there and now you have to go to court tomorrow. 

I give no comment about the case, but I make this comment about 'the Yarra 3' and their benefactor, their sponsor, their honoured leader. The Prime Minister went on radio and endorsed their comments.

Oh, yes, we'll give them a pair. We'll give them a pair. 

Respect the law—pull the other one! 

And let's have a look at the schools policy.

For all the confused horse-trading going on, the Government is just trying to work how much money you can get away with ripping off Australian schools. 

You were having an auction.

You wanted to get away with $40 billion and then you rolled the poor old Member for Warringah and then the Member for Wentworth turns up and says, 'I'm the hero of the ages,' and says, 'I'll only cut $22 billion.' 

Then of course, they went, 'Oh, my goodness. No-one in Australia likes it, except a couple of school chums of the Prime Minister.' 

And then today they started lecturing us about standing up for public schools…

[Member for Corangamite interjecting]

You would be better off saying nothing, Member for Corangamite. The Catholic education system has worked you out. 

The $22.3 billion cut and it was in the Prime Minister's own 'fact sheet'. 

Let me read out what they distributed to the media:

Compared to Labor's arrangements, this represents savings of $6.3 billion over four years and $22.3 billion over 10 years ...

That is their confession. 

An average of cutting $2.4 million per school, the equivalent of not hiring an extra 22,000 teachers over the next 10 years. 

But they say, 'Oh, that's only compared to Labor.' Well, here is a news flash: you are in a contest with us.  

And we are going to win the education debate, because we are the party of education. We are the party of needs based funding. 

To be fair, the member for Sydney is wiping the floor with the lot of you reprobates, even without the rest of us. 

But we are up for this fight on education – and I tell you what, we are not the only people. 

The teachers - they know and they hate this policy. 

The Catholic education system –

[Government members interjecting]

You say: 'Rubbish'.

Don't you read what they say about you? 

What do you have against parents who choose to send their kids to low-fee Catholic parish schools? Why do you want their fees to go up? 

Whatever happened to the party of choice? 

I tell you what, whatever happens in 9 days time with their manifest unfairness:

-       the rising prices

-       the tax cuts for millionaires

-       their penalty rate cuts for hundreds of thousands of workers

I promise the Australian people that we will remedy and right the wrongs of 1 July. 

We are on the side of the people and we will take this government on all the way to the election.


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