News Parliament

MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - TAXATION, MARCH

How ironic it is that those opposite would have the gall to move this matter of public importance about ordinary Australians at the very moment that they're seeking to rip off the tax refunds of ordinary Australian retirees. It's breathtaking. The gall and the front of those opposite to bring this into this House today is absolutely breathtaking. There are 875,000 retirees who are going to affected by their tax grab. We are talking about tens of billions of dollars, about $56 billion, that they are trying to grab from the retirees of Australia.

The thing about it is, and you'd know from your own electorate, Deputy Speaker, that these are hardworking Australians who've spent their lives helping to build our nation, and helping to build our region and our communities. They have proceeded to do that with an expectation that the rules are the rules and that they would be able to retire on a certain amount of income, and all of that now has been snatched away from them by this extraordinary tax grab by those opposite. And you saw how badly planned the whole fiasco was when they've announced that they're backtracking on 300,000-odd pensioners. It's a flip flop. The people out there, the retirees, know that those opposite can't be trusted and they will be wondering what's next: what tax refund are they coming for next; how are they going to get their hands on my wallet next; and am I going to be able to retire beyond one, two, three, four or five years?

Uncertainty now reigns supreme in Australia's retiree community. I think it's an extraordinarily shabby way to treat Australia's retirees, and those opposite should be ashamed of bringing this sort of MPI about ordinary Australians into the national parliament at the same time they're ripping off tens of billions of dollars of retirees' tax refunds. It's a shameful episode.

What this government is doing for ordinary Australians is probably the best thing you can do: besides not touching their tax refunds, we're actually giving them jobs. The jobs growth that this government has overseen has been extraordinary: more than 1,100 new jobs a day—and this is 900 more jobs than the economy created under Labor each day. This is an extraordinary achievement. In the last year, the total number of jobs created was 420,700 compared with Labor's last year of government of only 88,900. On this side of the aisle, we believe in jobs and lower taxation; on that side, it's all about tax grabs—what tax can we impose next; where can we get more money to spend?

We know how they're going to spend it. We know about their economic management. Who could forget the pink batts; who could forget that shameful episode—an episode which actually cost lives. Look at them all over there laughing about it. It cost lives. The Building the Education Revolution—who could forget how they handled that one? Overinflated school halls and classrooms; out-of-town builders getting all the work.

People know that this government is the one that is delivering jobs. We've got an unemployment rate of 5.6 per cent—in Calare, it's 3.9 per cent. Since the coalition was elected in September 2013, the economy has created almost one million jobs—997,800—which is an increase of 8.7 per cent. Total employment and total full-time unemployment—and that's an important one—are at record highs. The current rate of jobs growth remains high at 3.5 per cent over the year and is more than double the decade average of 1.6 per cent—and they've all gone quiet, because they know the figures don't lie. They know this is a significant achievement and one which they never attained. They talk a big game, but all they're ever about is grabbing tax and finding out who they can rip off next. You saw that with their disgraceful display in which they hadn't thought out their policy and suddenly had to flip flop: are we going to take the tax refunds from pensioners or are we not? Nevertheless, 875,000 retirees are going to suffer. We've been hearing about them in this House all week.

We believe in lower tax. We believe that everyone should pay their fair share, which is why we have extended the multinational anti-avoidance law that's been announced today. This makes sure that these entities are not dodging tax and are paying their fair share. This is another way that this government is driving the economy and economic growth. We're about growth and jobs; you people are about taxing and taking money from retirees— (Time expired)