Matters of Public Importance - Taxation

House of Representatives, 27 June 2018 
Watch Matt's Speech - 

Part 1 

Part 2

Transcript - 

What a performance we have just seen from the member for Corangamite.

It just goes to show that, when the members on the government side are backed into a corner, all we get is some flailing about and some lashing out; don't worry about the accuracy of what's said!

Clearly, what we've seen here today is a demonstration of just how wrong the priorities of this government are.

Paul Keating famously said, 'If you change the government, you change the nation.' What are we seeing from this government? We are seeing the wrong priorities, and they are not what the Australian people demanded.

When I stood for election to this House, and I am sure it is the case for everyone here on the opposition benches—why did we want to come here?

We wanted to come to this parliament to represent our communities and stand up for the priorities that they want.

When it comes to their priorities, just as the Leader of the Opposition said earlier in this debate, they want to make sure that their health is looked after, they want to make sure that their kids can get a good education and they want to know that their parents and their grandparents will be looked after in aged care.

They want to know that their kids will be able to get training, get an apprenticeship and get the skills that they need for a job.

They want to ensure that, if they go back into the workforce after having given birth to a child, they can get access to affordable child care and early childhood education.

They also want to know that—lo and behold—if the financial services industry and the big banks of this country are not looking after their interests, they will be held to account.

But, when we look at the priorities that have been set by this government, what do we see? The failure that is the falsehood of trickle-down economics—voodoo economics.

This government's solution to everything is: 'What we will do is give a tax cut to big business. What we'll do is give a tax cut to our mates in the big banks, $17 billion.' Hold that figure in your heads, ladies and gentlemen—$17 billion. It comes up again later.

'We'll give that money out there and hope that it rains down and eventually lands at the feet of ordinary Australians.' That is not the right approach, and it is not what ordinary middle-class Australians and low-income earners want to see. What they want to see is an actual investment in the economy and in their future and their lives.

I said to hold onto the number $17 billion, the tax cut that's going to the big banks. Why does that number sound familiar? Oh, that's right: it's the exact same amount of money that this government has decided to cut out of the funding for our schools—the schools that are so essential to make sure that our children are able to get the education they need so that they can get on in a modern economy in a modern society.

We know we're having this discussion about automation. We're having the discussion about the future of work. What is going to ensure that Australia prospers and thrives and that our children can get a good job and are able to look after their families?

It's about getting a good education. This government's solution to that problem to is cut $17 billion out of funding for our schools.

You guys are a mob of geniuses! You really are!

Then what do they decide to do in this budget? In this budget they decide to double down and cut money out of TAFE funding: $270 million is being cut from TAFE. We want to make sure that our children and those who want to get ahead in life can get a trade and an apprenticeship and can get the skills they want, and instead this government's solution to that is, 'Oh, we'll just cut funding out of TAFE.'

Thanks, guys! A pack of geniuses!

Labor, meanwhile, will guarantee the up-front fees for 100,000 places. We will restore the $17 billion that's being cut out of school funding. We'll invest $100 million in a Building TAFE for the Future Fund to make sure that those who want to get ahead can actually get ahead, not through your big business tax cuts and plans to help the banks and the top end of town.

Then we've got the childcare changes. This one really does my head in, and I'll tell you why: not only have you set up a system which has now disenfranchised a whole heap of working Australians from being able to access child care, but you've now set up a system where they've got to use myGov to go on and re-register to get their rebates. Let me tell you right now: my wife and I have four degrees between us. Two of them are law degrees. The system is broken if we can't make it work the first time around.

I have a lot of sympathy for every Australian out there who is trying to rely on the systems this government creates—systems such as robo-debt and trying to get on the phone to talk to Centrelink. Well, good luck with that one!

This is a government has no regard for the needs of ordinary Australians whatsoever. Then what does it decide to do? Rip billions of dollars out of our health system. Thanks!

Meanwhile, we need to rely on our hospitals. We need to be able to guarantee we can get access to the health care we need, and this government cuts billions of dollars out of health as well.

Then, when it comes to financial services, they rip money out of ASIC, who is supposed to be the big corporate cop on the beat... (Time expired)