07 May 2016

From Tony’s tradies to Malcolm’s millionaires: this is a Budget for big business over the battlers. 

This Budget was meant to demonstrate, at last, that Malcolm Turnbull was different to Tony Abbott.

But it contains the same $80 billion cuts to schools and hospitals and the same cuts to working-class and middle-class families. The same cuts to Medicare, to childcare, to aged care, to carers and pensioners. This Budget fails the test of fiscal responsibility too. Having banged the drum of “Budget emergencies” for so long, and despite all their cuts and broken promises, in the past three years the Liberals have tripled the deficit and added $100 billion to Australia’s national debt.

At a time of falling incomes, flat wages and declining living standards, this Budget promises fewer jobs and lower growth. By contrast, Labor is being honest with Australians about what the Budget can truly afford. We’re making the hard choices to fully fund our investments in Australia’s future, to deliver Budget repair that is fair.

If there’s one fact that defines the unfairness of the government’s Budget it is this — a working mum on $65,000 with two kids in high school will be more than $4700 a year worse off.

But someone on $1 million will be almost $17,000 better off every year.

And not only are these measures unfair, they are unaffordable.

Labor will do the right thing — by the Budget and by families.

Labor will support a tax cut for small business — but unlike the Prime Minister we will not use this as camouflage for a massive tax cut to big multinationals.

Especially when the government did not trust the Australian people with the truth of the 10-year cost of its 10-year plan.

The Turnbull Budget is built on a fraud of a grand scale.

The Prime Minister knew full well what his big-business tax cut would cost all taxpayers — but for days he looked them in the eye and told them he did not.

It was simply a lie.

Labor will not support Mr Turnbull’s 10-year tax cut for big business and now is not the time to reduce the marginal rate for individuals who earn more than $180,000 a year.

These two decisions will deliver $65 billion in Budget improvements.

Labor has a clear and costed policy to close the unsustainably generous superannuation loopholes at the very top end.

Our reforms are prospective and predictable — so people can plan for the future with security.

But the Coalition’s changes are chaotic and unprecedented. They were made with zero consultation.

They dangerously undermine what’s acknowledged as the world’s best system for securing a decent retirement for all Australians.

Every superannuation account holder can now only guess what Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison will do next.

This is a matter of principle for us. Labor has very grave concerns about retrospective changes — which is precisely why our reforms to negative gearing and capital gains explicitly rule out retrospectivity.

Labor has been putting forward our positive plans for the future.

For a growing economy where opportunity belongs to everyone.

Securing Australian jobs today and creating jobs tomorrow.

Preparing for our transition to a knowledge economy, by investing in education — from early childhood and schools to TAFE and university.

A health system where your Medicare card, not your credit card, guarantees you access to the treatment you need.

For real action on climate change — and the new jobs and new industries created by renewable energy.

Putting the great Australian dream of home ownership back in reach of working- and middle-class families who have been priced out of the market by taxpayer-funded subsidised speculators.

And championing the march of women to equality: closing the gender pay gap, properly funding childcare and not cutting paid parental leave.

We hear so much talk from this Prime Minister about “innovation”. But Australia cannot be an innovation nation unless we are an education nation.

You can’t build an ideas boom when you’re sacking CSIRO scientists.

We will not get smarter by charging university students $100,000 for a degree.

Unlike the Liberal-Nationals, who have cut $2.5 billion from vocational education, Labor will make training and skills a national priority.

The pendulum has swung too far to private providers — Labor will be backing public TAFE all the way.

We will restore integrity to the training system by cleaning out the dodgy private colleges which have been ripping Australians off. Tens of thousands of Australians are being loaded up with massive new debt — but not the qualification they need to find a job. The Prime Minister may not be capable of making a decision, but I am. A Labor government will cap vocational education loans at $8000 per student per year We will cut this wasteful spending, saving an estimated $6 billion over the decade. We reject the false choice between growth and fairness— each is essential to each other. In my Budget reply I outlined $71 billion of additional budget improvements over the next decade. By contrast, this Liberal Budget punishes people who can’t afford it and rewards those who don’t need it. Labor is proud to offer the Australian people a better alternative. We have learnt the hard lessons of the past. We have put forward our positive plans. We are united. We are ready. A Labor government will always put people first.

We have learnt the hard lessons of the past. We are united. We are ready.