MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE: Economy

Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (16:19): Last week the Treasurer visited the Press Club and, after 46 minutes, one side of the country looked at the other side of the country and said, 'What was that?' and the other side of the country went—

An opposition member: Alan Jones said, 'What was that?'

Mr HUSIC: Alan Jones and Ray Hadley. Everyone was wondering, 'What was that?' It was the weirdest speech from the person who is central to creating an economic plan, an economic vision, for the nation. What stood out—apart from nothing—in that speech was when he started recalling his friendship with some bloke called Clay Nelson from Texarkana. He is a Morrison mate. I should have guessed why he would be interested in this person. Apparently, Clay and his hunting friends would play pranks, such as throwing alligators in each other's tents. It sounds just like the coalition party room. No wonder these guys got on like a house on fire. The Treasurer said:

Clay would sit down with a client or a mate or a friend or whatever and the first thing he'd always say to you was: how can I help you win today?

Which is probably what he said to Malcolm. The Treasurer went on:

When you heard that for the first time, you sort of recoiled a bit as an Aussie and said 'That's a bit full-on. That's a bit much. Does the guy really mean it?'

And now they have become great friends. Then the Treasurer decided to channel Clay and he had this thing about how he would apply this to his job. He said: 'How can I back you in today?' This is what Scott Morrison is saying to the Australian public:

I'd say 'how can I back you in today?' How can I, as Treasurer, how can the Government back you in in terms of what you're doing and what you're hoping to achieve? And that's our job.

Who is this man? Is he the Treasurer or Anthony Robbins? This is a weird approach.

After he delivers his budget speech in May, will he say, 'Do you want a side of fries with that?' Is he going to upsize the budget at the end of it all? This is what we are expecting out of the Treasurer—that he will have this sort of hokey pokey motivational speaking type approach, when really the person who needs motivation the most is the Treasurer himself. He has had the rug pulled out from under him. He spent the bulk of his time talking up a GST which did not happen. He has no other options on the table. He looks at ours, rules them out and then talks about how he will bring them in himself. That is all he has.

The Treasurer talks about how he can help us today. I will tell him how he can help us today: come up with a plan. Why don't you come up with some sort of idea to help the economy? Why don't you actually do things that help people? Here's an idea: if you want to help people, why don't you make sure that education is properly funded in this country, make sure that our schools have a proper sense of funding instead of cutting everything? The opposition leader announced that we would back in and do what that side of politics said they would do at the election, that they would fund every single school properly. Why don't you do that? That is a plan in investing in the future of the nation, making sure we have the skills we need and helping the economy grow. How about that as a plan? Our communities want better health care. How about we don't force a whole lot of people to wait on the sidelines or to suffer and endure substandard health systems? Why don't you actually invest in that? How about you help us by putting back the money you cut from schools and from hospitals. How about that as a plan? When government revenue has been undermined by the fact that multinationals are gaming tax systems all over the globe, how about you come up with a plan like we did to tackle that—a real one, as the member for Rankin said, that would deliver $7 billion in terms of additional revenue for this country. When we have wealthy superannuants with accounts of $2 million and they draw $75,000 a year, how about we wind back the concessions and deliver something that is fairer to people instead of ripping superannuation out of low- and middle-income Australia? How about that? If you want to help us, come up with a plan like Labor has.

As Labor has said, there are problems in this country that we need to be able to deal with, but the textbook, the playbook, of that side of politics is this: whenever there is a problem in public life turn to one group of people to slug—low- and middle-income Australia. It is not a plan whatsoever. If you want to help us, get out of the way and let Labor lead this country again.

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley


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