Budget Reply Speech

Last week I met a pensioner from Pagewood in my electorate.

On the doorstep of his modest home on a busy main road I listened intently trying to block out the incessant noise of trucks, buses and cars whizzing by.

The man in his 70’s outlined to me his struggle to live his life. 

He still has a mortgage on his home that he has lived in for decades. His wife is still at work.

He enjoys no luxuries in life - an annual holiday, an occasional night out. He has not seen a dentist in years and the fortnightly household income passes through his bank account on the way to the local bank or supermarket.

Earlier that day I spoke to a single mum hand-in-hand with her daughter outside Maroubra Bay Primary School. She told a similar story.

She works simply to put food on the table, pay the bills and make sure her kids are well cared for in afterhours child care. There is nothing left in her pay packet after all expenses are taken into account.

These are the battlers of our community and it was for them that my heart sank upon hearing last week’s Commission of Audit announcement.

Now I can’t stop thinking of the bloke from Pagewood and his family, unable to sleep at night because he knows his fortnightly costs are about to increase, yet his income will stay the same and may even fall. And the mother from Maroubra, worrying about her kids education and the family budget.

The Commission of Audit’s recommendations do not reflect the struggles of Australian families and pensioners to make ends meet.

It is clear that those who put the report together don’t know what it’s like to have most of your pay packet disappear into your mortgage.

It appears they don’t realise that the childcare rebate is the difference between a child being in care and allowing mum and dad to work, and not having your kid in childcare.

The authors don’t appear to appreciate that pensioners have a set income each fortnight and a small co-payment for a couple of trips to the doctor or a prescription is enough to blow their budget.

The authors have never been a long-term minimum wage worker who can’t afford to get their car fixed if it breaks down.

These are the everyday Australians that our Federal Government should be trying to help out. The Government should not be making their lives harder.

Yet that is what the Commission of Audit recommendations will do - make life harder for Australians.

I understand the need for a sustainable national budget. I agree we need to restrain spending and generate more income to fund education, health and transport services.

But I also know that some large multinational mining companies are making record profits off resources owned by the Australian people, and Tony Abbott plans to reduce their tax liability by removing the mining tax.

I also know that some Australians have whopping large superannuation accounts worth over $2 million and earn significant incomes off those funds for very little effort, and the Abbott Government does not believe these funds should pay even a little more tax.

No, Tony Abbott wants to make the pensioner from Pagewood and millions like him throughout our nation pay more under the guise of doing our bit.

How we achieve budget sustainability is a matter of priorities, and the Abbott Government's are all wrong.


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