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Speeches

Labor Motion "Inequality in Australia is rising"

I rise to speak against, once again, another ridiculous motion moved by the member for Jagajaga. 

If there's one thing the last 100 years has shown us here in Australia it is that the greatest creator of poverty and inequality is socialism.

That is the guiding principle of those opposite. So their motion today on poverty and inequality is once again laughably hypocritical.

In contrast, what do we on this side stand for? We stand for free trade, economic liberalism and democracy, which have led to unprecedented levels of growth, wealth and unemployment.

That is what we on this side stand for, every minute of every day of every year. 

Employment is a key point here, because—and we've heard it here many times today, but it's worth saying one more time—the best form of welfare is a job.

The hypocrisy of the member for Jagajaga is galling, considering Labor's policies and the decisions made while she was a minister in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments, which would have led to homelessness services being defunded—just one example.

Labor's heartless contribution to inequality was to not leave one single cent in the budget for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. 

They had the chance to fund the expiring national partnership agreement in their last budget, and they chose to leave not one single cent. 

They left only uncertainty. Labor not only left this program without a penny but also created an affordable housing program with no way of measuring whether any affordable houses were actually delivered—typical, but still very disappointing.

On this side, we're redesigning this program so that for the first time it actually has some measurable outcomes. 

This government believes in a welfare system that tackles poverty and inequality, principally by helping individuals achieve independence and move off welfare.

Our welfare reforms, including the cashless welfare card—and it's good to see the minister here today—which we're trialling in my state, in the Kimberley, and also the eastern goldfields, as well as our drug testing trials, all contribute to this goal. 

They will help to reduce poverty and inequality in this country.

Already in the last financial year the Turnbull government has created some 240,000 jobs, the largest increase in job creation since the GFC.

The Leader of the Opposition talks a lot about inequality but doesn't have any policies to create jobs, to help people move into jobs or to reduce the cost of living for Australians.

The policies of those opposite will lead to job losses, reduced investment and increased energy costs.

This obstructionism regarding power policy will delay and deny Australians a reliable and affordable energy supply and will deny Australians a reduction of, on average, $115 in their energy bill at the end of the year.

We have seen Western Australian Labor go a step further, with an ideological thought bubble of an independent RET.

This thought bubble will place Western Australia at a huge comparative disadvantage.

What about the 120-odd food parcels in South Australia we've been hearing about today, due only to a reckless power policy of the South Australian Labor government?

I spoke earlier about how Labor failed to fund the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.

But a few weeks ago they were given the opportunity to vote on an increase to the level of Newstart. 

The member for Jagajaga even mentioned that today. Despite making numerous vague statements about the adequacy of this payment, they did not vote to increase the rate; no, they did not.

We're aware that many in the community feel that things are not getting better. 

We are acutely aware of that as the government.

Wages are stagnant and many people haven't seen a significant pay rise in a long time. 

We on this side understand that, and we are working hard to improve the lives of all Australians. That's what you do when you're in government.

All the Leader of the Opposition can do is make speeches, voice platitudes and talk of raising taxes.

He and his colleagues employ the economics of envy and the economics of politics. Our approach is different.

We want to create more jobs. We don't just want to talk about it. It's not just words. We actually want to create more jobs.

We want to support people to get the skills they need to move into a job.

It was this government that made the $100 million investment in the Try, Test, and Learn Fund, which found new ways to help disadvantaged individuals.

Of course, we have fully committed to the NDIS. We are exempting low-income earners from the Medicare levy, while higher income earners will contribute the most.

Those opposite love to make statements like they have today, despite history and despite our record. We are tackling poverty and inequality and I am very proud of our record. 
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