I rise to support these amendments because 10 million Australians deserve a fair-dinkum tax cut next year.
We have seen this economy mismanaged for the last five years.
- The cost of living goes up and up and up.
- Private health insurance companies know a soft touch when they see one in the Government.
- The out-of-pocket costs of Medicare are going up and up and up.
- Wages growth is flat-lining.
- And energy prices - well that's just far too hard for this government to fix.
So this is why the Government should support a fair dinkum tax cut for 10 million working Australians.
The look of stunned surprise on a government not known for its innovation, when they heard that Labor was able to support a tax cut almost double that of the Government's on Budget Reply night, speaks volumes for the lack of imagination of this government.
What we endure in Question Time is the Liberal Party and the National Party saying that they will offer lower taxes to Australians.
Well, if they vote against this amendment, they are wrong, wrong and wrong.
Only Labor is offering 10 million working Australians almost double the tax cut next year of this government's tax cut this year.
Labor supports the plan on the 1st of July this year - of course we do - but next year we want to do almost double that.
And Labor can offer lower taxes for 10 million working Australians because we can pay for our promises.
Look at that Treasurer - we know he's listening, he's just pretending not to. He wishes that he had thought of our idea but he can't because they already sold the budget to the top end of town.
We can afford to pay for our much better tax cuts for 10 million working Australians because we're not giving $80 billion away, most of which goes to the top end of town.
Only a government truly arrogant, truly out of touch and truly in the pockets of the big banks would propose giving $17 billion dollars to the big banks.
Only this government would offer $17 billion to the big banks while denying working Australians a tax cut of about $20 a week.
Now we can afford to pay for our promises to give 10 million Australians lower taxes, because we've made genuine economic reform proposals which we'll put to the people:
- We will reform negative gearing.
- We won't be handing out income tax refunds to people who don't pay income tax.
- We will tidy up the family trust discretionary situation where the lucky few can income split and the many cannot.
But not only when they vote against our amendments can they no longer say that they are the party of lower taxes.
Not only can they not say that Labor can't afford our promises because in fact, every day they go around the country saying that, the problem is Labor has made hard economic decisions and they are not prepared to give away corporate tax cuts to the banks.
They know that we have got a better tax offer, a better income tax cut for 10 million Australians.
They know we can pay for it.
But they also know the final fact of the matter. They know that we have a better economic plan.
This Treasurer's budget on Tuesday night was so devoid of inspiration. It was a statement of residual accounts of the nation with their sneaky cuts to hospitals, and schools, and TAFE baked into it.
Well, we can assure Australians that we have a trifecta, we have a winning trifecta for the middle and working class of this country.
We can afford to pay down our national debt quicker and faster because of our genuine economic reforms.
We can afford to properly fund our schools - reverse the $17 billion worth of cuts that these Luddites are inflicting on the kids and the adults of the future.
Properly fund TAFE with 100,000 places, the upfront fees paid.
Provide 200,000 more university places.
We can do the trifecta of better income tax cuts, a better deal for schools, hospitals, TAFE and university, and pay down the national debt because we have a plan.
And I just say to the Government: If you vote against these income tax cuts tonight, we will remind you every day between now and whenever the by-elections are, and whenever the election is.
Because the next election will decide the future of this country.
It will decide what sort of society and what sort of direction we want.
It will decide if we want trickle-down economics from the representatives of big business, or fair go economics where Labor puts 10 million Australians first, second and third.