Mr HUSIC (Chifley—Government Whip) (16:12): Madam Deputy Speaker, I am so glad you have given me the call. I am going to be upfront. I love listening to the member for Dunkley. Whenever he brings these matters of public importance into the House I love it. He has that machine-gun delivery and all that energy. There he is, trying to paint a picture of horror, backing up his claims with playdough statistics, providing us with a promise that we will see a better future if we just follow what he tells us we need to do. If I close my eyes, I am not listening to parliament; I am listening to late night TV and he is Mr ShamWow. He is there, flogging his products to us with all that energy and gusto and I almost wait, Member for Dunkley, for you to offer us a free DVD of the performance. I will take it! I will take that any day.
Mr Neumann: Better than steak knives.
Mr HUSIC: It is better than steak knives, indeed, as my colleague the member for Blair rightly points out. The member for Dunkley has directed all this energy and effort this week—it has been a supreme performance. Why have we had it? It is because opposition members are trying to mask the reality. They keep going on about how we are all from the union movement and how all we do is support the union movement. Do you know what? I have no problems supporting the union movement and union members because they are working people. I have no problem doing that. We, through our actions in this place, help working people every day.
Those opposite dress themselves up as the friends of small business when in reality they are the biggest betrayers of small business. They are the ones who made every single small business a tax collector when they imposed the GST. They loaded up small businesses with all that paperwork, forcing them to bring in MYOBs and to fill out business activity statements. They burdened them. These great friends of small business now worry that everything will come to an end when we introduce a price on carbon for the top 500 businesses. We introduced initiatives such as providing an asset tax write-off to improve the cash flow of small businesses around the country. Name one government that in one move was able to improve the cash flow of businesses to the tune of $6,500. It never happened under those opposite. We are providing it.
A government member: Per asset.
Mr HUSIC: Per asset, indeed. When we give business tax cuts, what do these people on the other side, parading themselves as the great friends of small business, do? They oppose it. Big business and the corporate sector are trying to work out what is going on on that side of the fence when they will not provide a business tax cut and when they will not support what we are trying to do—effectively redistribute the huge wealth that has been generated on one side of the country to ensure that the two million businesses across this nation have a huge injection in cash flow. What do those opposite do? They oppose it. The member for Dunkley comes in here parading himself as some friend of small business.
Mr Perrett: Mr ShamWow.
Mr HUSIC: Mr ShamWow—there he is with this false pretence that he will help small business.
This week was a week of distractions. Yesterday the press gallery was in a state of confusion. I come from the great state of New South Wales. Mr O’Farrell, Premier of New South Wales, was deaf to the concerns about the drive-by shootings that have been happening in Western Sydney. I am happy to be corrected on this, but I thought there were about 60 drive-by shootings in the space of a year. We never saw anything, but all of a sudden yesterday the opposition discovered its concern for this issue.
Mr Perrett: When the AFP is successful.
Mr HUSIC: The AFP successfully intervened, Customs successfully intervened and those opposite were suddenly concerned about it. The press gallery was wondering where this all came from. The greatest smuggling act yesterday was these guys smuggling their embarrassment through distraction. What they tried to do yesterday was confect concern about something that we had been worried about for ages. The New South Wales government never did anything. The New South Wales government need to have something that can distract them from their problems with casinos in New South Wales. And you needed a distraction from the fact that you were not there to support business in this country because you announced you were putting your own interests above business interests. At least we stand up for the people that you always point out we represent: the union movement. You do not. The guys opposite fail to stand up for their own, the ones they claim they represent.
Look at the suite of policies that we have put in since 2007, all the things we have been doing. I have mentioned the asset tax write-off. I have mentioned the corporate tax cuts we are trying to make. We are providing a head start for small companies on the company tax rate, which you will deny through your actions in parliament. Businesses that operate as sole traders, partnerships and trusts will benefit from the next round of personal income tax cuts, which start in July this year. We have reduced quarterly pay-as-you-go income tax instalments for the 2011-12 income year for taxpayers using the GDP adjustment method, providing $700 million as a cash flow benefit to small business. Huge. Those are the types of things that we are doing. The New Enterprise Incentives Scheme is a program that helps eligible social security recipients to get into self-employment, to get into small business, giving them a start.
Look at the types of things that we on this side of the fence are doing to help small business but that are opposed by those opposite every single step of the way. They are not interested in jobs. Today demonstrated it. They were more interested in providing a job for someone they did not want to give a job to themselves. They were concerned that the former Treasurer and member for Higgins was not going to get the plum job at the Future Fund. Yet they would not even put him in as leader of their own party. That is what they are concerned about in this place. They are not concerned about the jobs created by small businesses. They are not concerned about the policies that we are putting forward that support small business. It was remarkable, I have to say, to hear the Leader of the Opposition talk about Peter Costello, the former member for Higgins. He has now been lionised by those opposite after he was demonised when he was in the parliament.
We had the situation where the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Warringah, was saying that the member for Higgins as Treasurer alone was responsible for two million jobs being created. Those opposite were in power for 11 years and they created two million jobs, but we have nearly cracked one million in one parliamentary term. What was the former member for Higgins doing in what we are told were great times for the economy? Those opposite were not interested in creating jobs. They were not responsible for creating jobs. They made life hard for working people trying to draw a wage through what they did with Work Choices. On top of that they put huge burdens on small business.
Where were they when small businesses were asking for help on trade practices reform? Missing in action. When small businesses were concerned about predatory pricing that was squeezing them out of business or when small businesses were concerned about creeping acquisitions, I remember the member for Higgins resisting the calls for trade practices reform, sitting on reports that had been done, reports that called for that reform to occur to help small business, which did not want to be muscled out by big business. I congratulate those opposite. They have got form. They are always helping out those big interests in the economy: Clive Palmer, our national treasure, Gina Rinehart—
Opposition members interjecting—
Mr HUSIC: I know you love Gina. I am waiting for the T-shirts to sprout on the other side of the chamber. Back then, they were going slow on competition reform, slowing things down so that small businesses could not get ahead. I never heard you, Member for Dunkley, ever raise that. The other thing is that I have never seen the member for Dunkley be so concerned about the fact that those opposite, your side of politics, would deny those people a tax cut. You are an absolute disgrace to small business. (Time expired)