Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (15:39): When the minister indicates that the country wants leadership, I dare say the country wants more. What the country wants more of is honest leadership. It wants people who are going for high office to honour and to uphold the commitments they made to the Australian people. What we have found is that a reaction has occurred across the country—a recoil has occurred—from people seeing what the government have done and contrasting it with what they committed to do when they were in opposition—and they cannot even defend themselves. When people questioned the Prime Minister about whether or not this budget is fair dinkum, legit and upholding what they said, he said that the budget was ‘fundamentally honest’. It is not wholeheartedly honest; it is ‘fundamentally honest’. It is like ‘I’m fundamentally not guilty’ or ‘I may be fundamentally right.’ They cannot even uphold what they are doing. The reason is that there are a plethora of quotes which demonstrate that he is going to have a problem saying that he is ‘fundamentally honest’. It is sort of like ‘honest John’ was really honest! You do realise that when they used to be called him ‘honest John’ it was done tongue-in-cheek—just like this commitment about your own budget being fundamentally honest.
I was wondering why there were so many senior people who looked like they were getting a sunburn. In actual fact, they all had these red foreheads. It was from the palms that keep going up to their forehead when they read all the Tony Abbott quotes. Let us look at the Prime Minister’s quotes—and I have some here, funnily enough. He said:
It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.
That is what he said.
We stand for lower, simpler, fairer taxes, not great big new taxes …
That was in 2010. What about the other one on the flood levy.
Government members interjecting—
Mr HUSIC: Don’t you worry about all these little boiling frogs that are starting to jump on the back bench. You will be getting a lot hotter—trust me!
The one thing that [people] will never have to suffer under a Coalition government is an unnecessary new tax, a tax that could easily be replaced by savings found from the budget.”
That is Tony Abbott in 2011. People who work hard should not be ‘hit with higher taxes’. He said that in 2012. This next one is a pearler. The member for Corio and I had to sit through this one in the last term of parliament. Do you remember it? This is in the ‘Best of Tony Abbott’ DVD:
… there can be no tax collection without an election. If this government had any honesty, any decency, that is what we would have: an election now.
Remember that one. 2011 was a very productive year for the Prime Minister. He was churning out these quotes left, right and centre. I will give you another one:
No country ever got rich by increasing taxation. No country ever built a strong economy by clobbering itself with tax after tax after tax.
The GP tax, the hospital tax—look at all the things that you have done. And there is your other tax on top of that.
Mr McCormack: Carbon tax.
Mr HUSIC: I actually welcome that interjection, because the absolute principal quote that I read out earlier, Member for Riverina, is that conservatives often say: ‘What about the carbon tax?’ But you built this edifice. You clobbered us for a whole term of parliament on the basis that you would be better. You said that the whole time.
Ms Marino: We are.
Mr HUSIC: You are? Oh, really, you think you are! I do not think the public thinks you are when they see ‘no cuts to health’—cuts to health; ‘no cuts to education’—cut education. It is an $80 billion hit that you have committed under this budget. ‘No changes to the pension.’ You have got pensioners shirt-fronting the Prime Minister on morning TV. They know full well that they are being hit. What is fundamental here is the fact that you have deliberately gone out and misled the public, and your chickens are coming home to roost. That is why you get this little smattering from time to time of backbenchers chipping in, because it is getting a bit uncomfortable on that side of the House—like I said, those palms are hitting the forehead—when they see the quotes from the Prime Minister and remember, ‘Oh, yes, he did say that.’ You have a plethora of them. The final one I want to hit is the one in Real Solutions—the one that came with the ‘conditions apply’ little caveat on it:
We pledge to the families of Australia that we will never make your lives harder by imposing unnecessary new taxes.
It was a shameful display through the election and it is a shameful effort in this budget for failing to honour what you said you would do. (Time expired)