A Fair Economy
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.
Before turning to the substance of the bill, I would like to take a moment to look at the path it has taken to get here. When the Prime Minister used this bill is a trigger for a double dissolution election, he talked about how important and urgent the bill was. That is not borne out in any way by the path that the bill has taken.
I rise to support the motion, and in doing so I want to place it in its proper context, which is that the government is most keen to have a debate about taxation and in particular have a debate about the GST and the role that a rise in the GST might play in plugging holes in revenue and in funding a cut to corporate taxes.
The Prime Minister has spoken about the need to undertake reforms to deliver long-term gains for all Australians, which may create winners and losers in the near term. It was a fairly clear statement about how he sees that dynamic.
Predictions about the future tend to run to the extremes. Some people think that artificial intelligence will liberate us from work, leaving us to a life of leisure, self-driving cars, and Wi-Fi-enabled kettles. Others think robots will steal our jobs, ushering in dystopian levels of unemployment. Like all things, the reality is likely to be something in between.
Earlier this year the New South Wales Liberal government faced a choice. It needed to purchase new trains, a contract that would be worth billions of dollars and hundreds of jobs. The Baird government had the option in that process to choose a consortium that promised to manufacture the cars in a new facility in the Illawarra—
Senator for NSW Jenny McAllister and Labor candidate Damian Wood have met with staff at Port Macquarie TAFE today to hear about the impact of the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s cuts to skills and training. The Liberals have cut $2.5 billion from skills and training over the past two years, including a $1 billion cut to apprentice programs and apprenticeship support.
Regional TAFEs like Port Macquarie have fewer students and less money, figures show.
McAllister and Ketter Media Release: A Husband is Not a Retirement Plan - Report from the Economic Security for Women in Retirement Inquiry
The Senate Inquiry into the Economic Security of Women in Retirement has found that if action is not taken now, women currently aged 25-29 will still face a less secure retirement than men of the same age when they retire in 2055. The Inquiry’s final report has been released today and provides 19 recommendations that, if implemented, would narrow the gap between men and women’s retirement security.
Wong and McAllister Media Release: Turnbull Chaos - No Plan for Schools, Hospitals or The Federation
Senior officials confirmed today that chaos and division at the heart of the Turnbull Government sabotaged outcomes from the 1 April COAG meeting and has driven a stake through the heart of Federation reform. Officials from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury gave evidence that Malcolm Turnbull had been contemplating a plan for double taxation for months before the meeting – but didn’t bother to tell the states and territories, or even his own department.
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.