News Parliament


 It must be very disheartening for the Australian people to listen to the sanctimonious and hypocritical blather from those opposite. They come in here and preach about looking after all Australians when at the same time they are planning to rip billions and billions of dollars away from hardworking Australians. The hypocrisy is breathtaking; it is arrant hypocrisy. I think Australia has actually woken up to it. To come into this place and on the one hand say that you are the friend of the Australian people while on the other hand you are ripping away tens of billion dollars from Australia's most vulnerable—Australia's retirees—is shameful in the extreme. Our retirees are people who helped to build our nation. They worked hard, they saved, they took out mortgages and they did the right thing by putting away money for their retirement. Now 800,000, 900,000 or a million of them are going to find that the hand of the Labor Party is going to go into their super accounts and take their retirement funds away. It's disgraceful.

But it's not just wealthy Australians who will be hit, even though that's how they portray it. You've got to remember that the median income for retirees is just over $31,000. As reported in Australian Financial Review recently, retiree Toya Adams, a former nurse and flight attendant, is angry about it because she and her husband are going to lose $20,000 every year under the Labor party's proposal. She said that it's 'mischievously misleading' for Labor to attempt to portray this as just for wealthy people. She said, 'I am not a privileged mega-wealthy tax bludger'. No, Toya, you're not. You're one of the hardworking Australians who helped build our nation and build a future for your family. That is now at risk because these people are out to destroy your retirement savings. It' an absolute disgrace.

There is a $9.9 billion black hole in the costings. No-one should be surprised about that, given these are the people who brought you the pink batts fiasco. They can't manage anything. It's a management issue. We're talking about the cash blowouts for school halls, the Rudd money that was literally shovelled out the back of a truck. They squandered the wealth of our nation. That's what they did. Now they're coming after vulnerable retirees—people who've worked hard and helped build our nation.

I reckon the best thing that we can do to help Australian people, besides leaving their retirement savings alone, is to give them a job. Wasn't it wonderful to see the unemployment rate dropping to 5.4 per cent? It continues to drop. But it's not just in the cities that we're seeing these drops. If you compare how we're going with the days of Rudd-Gillard-Rudd, we're travelling extremely well. Last year jobs growth was the best on record, and, in May 2018, the level of employment increased to a high of 12,518,300—2.5 per cent above the level recorded a year ago. As I said, if you compare that to the shaky days of Rudd and Gillard, the contrast is stark. I'd like to draw your attention to a few examples in my own electorate.

Since June 2013, unemployment in Lithgow has dropped 4.7 per cent from 10.1 per cent under Rudd-Gillard-Rudd to 5.4 per cent. Oberon, in the high country out in the Central West, unemployment went from 5.5 per cent under Rudd-Gillard-Rudd down to 2.5 per cent now. These are real figures. These are impacting on people's lives, because we're giving them jobs. In Bathurst, unemployment was 6.2 per cent in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era. It's down to 3.5 per cent. In the Mid-Western Regional Council area it is down from seven per cent to 4.3 per cent. In the Cabonne council area it is down from 4.1 per cent under Rudd-Gillard-Rudd to 2.3 per cent. In Blayney—you can't forget Blayney—unemployment was 5.1 per cent in 2013 under Rudd-Gillard-Rudd; it's down to 3.2 per cent.

Total employment has increased by over one million jobs since September 2013. That's an 8.8 per cent increase since the government came to power. These are real results, and they're making a real difference to the lives of people, not only in the cities but also in country areas. One of the most important things that we can do as a government is make sure that our people in the cities, but most importantly in the regions, actually have jobs. Compare this to those opposite, where the days of high unemployment reigned supreme—and now they're coming after retirees' savings!