I believe our economy should serve its people. Labor will always work for an economy that is both strong and fair. We can deliver growth, efficiency and social justice when we provide quality education and training, support industries to provide jobs that are fairly paid and stable, and recognise the distinct needs of regional Australia, all while embracing the potential of technology and innovation. Australia is at its best when the benefits of economic growth are there for all to share.
We have heard this afternoon that there are some senators in this chamber who are concerned about tobacco taxes taking money out of people's pockets. On the Labor side, we are more concerned about tobacco taking years off people's lives. We heard a quite moving testimony from Senator Bilyk about the very personal cost that came about from tobacco-related disease.
The Prime Minister was asked yesterday if he had a recommendation for young people who could not afford to buy a home. His response had 351 words but not a single recommendation. This, of course, is just one recommendation less than Mr Hockey, who once unhelpfully suggested that young people should just get a better job -
I rise to address Australia's rental crisis. 2.7 million Australian households rent. They are the forgotten face of Australia's housing affordability crisis. They are forgotten in our national conversation and, unhappily, they are forgotten by the Turnbull government.
I spoke at Labor’s National Conference about tax and tax transparency: If people and companies want to use contrived structures to avoid tax, they should be prepared to publicly defend their decisions.
Australia is a relatively low taxing nation, and over the last ten years, Commonwealth revenue as a share of GDP has fallen significantly. Labor in government kept tax revenues below the levels inherited from John Howard, and made tough choices to fund new promises. However, the community has high expectations of the services they'll receive from government, and the call on our budget for services like health care is expected to rise.
I spoke about this issue at last weekend's NSW ALP State Conference, arguing that we need an honest conversation with our community about the services they want, and their willingness to pay for them.