Mr RAMSEY (Grey–Government Whip) (15:51): I read the topic of this matter of public importance and I thought, ‘There’s a typo.’ There has got to be something wrong here:
The Government’s unfair Budget hurting ordinary Australians.
It is not hurting ordinary Australians. It is helping them. It is rebuilding the Australian economy. It is mapping a path for security, for expansion and for growth. That is what this budget is doing. I really wonder at those on the other side of this House, who come into this place now and are having to fight against policies that they actually believe in. They are having to fight against the things the government is doing that they know are right, because recently they were calling for them.
We were just accused a few minutes ago of not supporting the NDIS. That, of course, is not the truth. That is absolutely not the truth. The Prime Minister was generous enough the other day to say, ‘Yes, Labor first tabled the idea, but we backed it from day one.’ So it has full support, but it does not have full support when it comes to funding. Labor half funded the NDIS and left a black hole, and now Labor oppose the government’s proposal to fix up that funding hole. It is worth remembering the reason we have to raise any tax at all is that Labor have been opposed to savings in the Senate. They have blocked the government’s budget reforms in the past. It has come to the point where a responsible government has to take a responsible decision to Australia. It cannot go on and say that these things will remain unfunded forever. Because of your intransigence-not yours, Mr Deputy Speaker Coulton, I hasten to add; those who sit across the chamber-we have come to a new conclusion. And that conclusion is exactly the same as what those on the other side promoted at an earlier hour. They were the ones who raised the Medicare levy by half of a per cent to partially fund the NDIS. In a noted difference in this chamber, they found a friend on the other side. When we sat on those benches, we said, ‘Yes, the NDIS must be funded.’ But they did not go the full mile; but now we are, and it sticks in their craw-just as it sticks in their craw that we have delivered true needs based funding for schools, true Gonski. That is what we have delivered. That sticks in their craw. They had 27 different agreements right around Australia, and we have delivered a flat bench. Everybody gets the same adjusted on needs based social conditions. They would have loved to have done that, but they could not get it done. They had to stitch up their deals. In the past they had championed the idea of reducing taxes on small and medium businesses-but, no, they oppose that as well
Dr Freelander: No, we don’t. We are not opposed to tax cuts for small business.
Mr RAMSEY: You certainly do oppose those tax cuts flowing through.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Coulton ): The member for Grey will address his comments through the chair and the member for Macarthur will cease interjecting.
Mr RAMSEY: We have delivered a tax cut to Middle Australia. Those earning $87,000-that is not a fortune-were getting caught up in bracket creep, and we have fixed that issue. And, at the end of the line, we are delivering a surplus-something that that side of the parliament promised to do on no less than four occasions. They never got anywhere near it, and they still do not have a path to get there. We know what would happen if Labor came back to these benches-those surpluses would just keep disappearing into the future. This government is responsible-it is meeting its commitments to the Australian public. As well, we are helping rural Australia by pumping an extra $472 million into those areas. We are helping ordinary Australians-I think that is what this matter of public importance today is about-by pumping that extra $472 million into a Regional Growth Fund, and we are helping ordinary Australians by providing another round of funding for the Building Better Regions Fund. (Time expired)