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Speech on amendment to Budget to scrap stage 3 tax cuts

On Budget night, 25 October, I moved an amendment to the budget bills calling on the government to scrap the Stage 3 tax cuts from their first budget, and instead spend the $254 billion providing cost of living relief that will make people's lives better, including by putting dental and mental healthcare into Medicare, building more affordable housing, and making childcare free.

People in Australia voted for change in the election in May, but so much of this budget is more of the same. We've been told that energy prices are going to go up by over 50 per cent over the next two years, while at the same time gas corporations are counting record profits. We've been told that revenue into the government coffers from gas is going to decrease by hundreds of millions of dollars in the same year and in the same period as one of the biggest gas booms in our history. We're told that rents are going to skyrocket, but there is no action on capping or freezing rents. We're told that the shortage of public housing is going to increase over this period, and yet the only investment the government is making in public and community housing is for 20,000 homes over the next five years, which doesn't even match the annual increase.

We're told that unemployment is going to be up, yet the perversity of it is that we all sat here, hearing the Treasurer talk about a sensible budget with tough choices, but everyone in this place is going to get an extra $9,000 a year once the stage 3 tax cuts come into effect. What are the tough choices that we're all making here? What are the tough choices that the billionaires and millionaires are making, who are going to get the $9,000 extra a year out of the stage 3 tax cuts? We've been told that life in Australia is going to get tougher over the next few years. The cost of living is going to go up and real wages are going to stagnate, but at the same time we're going to continue to see record corporate profits. Not only that; those same people making those record profits are going to get an extra $9,000 a year.

I once again return to that question asked time and again: why on earth do people in here wonder why people don't like politicians? Time and again we are told that the parameters for what's possible in politics are narrow. We could, for instance, step up and build hundreds of thousands of good-quality public homes over the next few years. We could scrap the stage 3 tax cuts and bring dental and mental health into Medicare. We could bring forward the Paid Parental Leave scheme right now so hundreds of thousands of extra parents could benefit. We could make child care universal and free right now if we scrapped the stage 3 tax cuts.

The amendment we're moving tonight is to highlight the hypocrisy of a government that claims to care about ordinary people but gives $9,000 extra a year to the politicians in this place who are already well overpaid and to the billionaires who already have enough and that takes money away from the people doing it tough. That's why we're moving this amendment, and those are the people—the people doing it tough right now—who the Greens will be fighting for over the next three years.

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