MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (17:53): I suggest to Senator Gallacher that, if he wants to know what is in the budget and what the government's budget plans are, he should do what I have done for the last 25 years, under governments of all persuasions, and that is turn up on budget night and hear the what the budget is. Never before, in the 25 years I have been here, have a government come out, prior to the budget, and indicated what their budget plan is.

I made a mistake there. Can I correct myself?

Senator O'Sullivan interjecting

Senator IAN MACDONALD: There was one occasion, Senator O'Sullivan, when a government did come out with a plan outside of the budget—in fact, they legislated for it. Do you all remember, going back in history, the L-A-W law tax policy? When Mr Keating was questioned, he said, 'No, these tax cuts are law—L-A-W law.' And the government legislated them just before an election. The Labor Party, unexpectedly, won that ensuing election, and what was the first thing they did when they got back in? They axed the L-A-W law tax concessions they had given just before the election. This demonstrates, yet again, that you cannot trust Labor at all with money or with tax policy.

I heard Senator Gallacher talking about cutting the expenses of some office somewhere. Senator Gallacher, you might not have been around here when the Labor Party had a building called century house or Centenary House.

Senator Reynolds: It was Centenary House.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Talk about rorts in the real estate market! That was a building owned by the Australia Labor Party. It was rented to, of all people, the Audit Office. They could not do anything about it. It had a rent escalation clause that far exceeded the CPI at the time. It was the greatest rort in history, and you, Senator Gallacher, are complaining about a few dollars spent on an office somewhere. If you want to enter into this debate, have a look at the Labor Party Centenary House fiasco.

Come budget night, you will see from this government a budget which delivers growth and jobs. That is what it is all about. Senator Bullock was with me last week at the Joint Select Committee on Trade and Investment Growth hearing on innovation and research, looking at new ways of doing things. We had in person after person congratulating the government—in a non-political way. In fact, a lot of the people doing it were university academics, people who very often are not our greatest supporters. They were all unanimous about how good the innovation statement was and how much it will mean to Australia. They were enthusiastic and very keen to get on board with the innovation statement. So there is an indication of an economic approach which will pay dividends.

I do not have to mention the free trade agreements and what they have done for Australia in helping to build our economy, grow our economy and provide real jobs for Australia. Everybody supported the free trade agreements. The Labor Party took a bit of time to get to the table but, at last, in the end, they came on board. They took the advice of Mr Keating and other senior elders of their party and came on board with the China free trade agreement. Those agreements, over the next 10 to 20 years, will provide an enormous boost to the Australian economy to grow the economy and to provide real jobs for Australians.

I am concerned that the Labor Party—as someone said at question time—have only five policies that they have announced for the election and that they all involve increasing taxes. That is the Labor Party's proposal for our economy—five policies, all increasing taxes. I would urge some of the Labor senators to look at their tax policy. Why am I giving them good advice? I am one of those magnanimous and sincere people, so I will give them some advice. They should look at their tax policy on capital gains tax because, quite frankly, it is going to push up rents and reduce the value of everyone's home. Ask any real estate agent. They should ask some of their mates in the Labor Party—if there are any left in the real estate business—what their policy would do to the value of Australian houses. I am trying to be helpful in a collegiate way because it is good for Australia. I ask them to please have a closer look at what they have announced as their policy for negative gearing. It is something that will cause real problems not only for our supporters but also, perhaps more importantly, for their supporters. So I ask them to, please, have a look at that.

I know the Labor Party has five proposals forward for increasing taxes. I can only remember the other great Labor promise: there will be no carbon tax under a Labor government. And what was the first thing the Labor Party did when it got into office? It introduced a carbon tax, yet another tax, which, regrettably, raised no money. It cost more to implement than it raised.

Here I have given you two examples of Labor's duplicity with tax policy and tax actions. One of them, as I mentioned, was the L-A-W tax cuts that were legislated by Mr Keating before an election and immediately, on winning the election, then legislated down. The carbon tax, after 'There will be no carbon tax under a government lead,' was introduced immediately.

With the coalition you will get an honest portrayal of the economy and of where Australia is going into the future. I will tell you what the coalition's policy and plans for the future are. I can relate it in two words. One is 'growth'—that is, growth of the economy and building the pie. Second is 'jobs'—jobs for all Australians and for those Australians who do not have it.

I see Senator Lambie joining the Labor Party. You better come up to Central Queensland. See all the people out of work because the CFMEU and the Queensland government shut down the mines in that area.

Senator Lambie interjecting

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Why don't you come outside and actually do a bit to help those people get a job? (Time expired)

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