Adam Bandt MP - Budget Reply Speech
The cost of everything is going up but wages and incomes are going backwards.
People are going backwards.
Billionaires and politicians, they get a $9,000 tax cut in Labor’s Budget. Clive Palmer gets a tax cut. Gina Reinhart gets a tax cut. Everyone in this House gets a tax cut.
$254 billion of tax cuts for billionaires and the very wealthy.
But real cost of living relief for everyone else is delayed.
The government says it’s making difficult decisions, but these aren’t as difficult as the decisions people across the country are making trying to pay the bills.
Trying to pay the rent.
Trying to pay the power bill.
Trying to afford groceries.
While people are struggling to cope with the rising costs without a real pay rise, Labor gives fossil fuel corporations at least $40 billion in subsidies.
While 3 million will still live in poverty, Labor gives politicians a $9,000 tax cut.
While people live in their cars because they can’t afford a house, Labor’s budget says rents will skyrocket.
This is not what people voted for.
People voted for change.
Together, we kicked the Liberals out. People want this Parliament to tackle the climate crisis and to tackle inequality.
People voted for change, but after this Budget, people are still waiting for it.
We wanted change, but sadly we got more of the same.
The same tax cuts for the wealthiest.
The same handouts for fossil fuels.
The same special treatment for big corporations.
The same higher rents, higher inequality and lower wages and incomes.
Under Labor’s Budget, you get higher bills, and Clive Palmer gets a $9,000 tax cut.
But it doesn’t need to be this way.
We could scrap the Stage 3 tax cuts for the wealthy, put dental and mental health into Medicare and make childcare free.
We could actually build a million new homes, instead of announcing a Budget-night policy that only contains funding for 10,000 with a hope private developers will do the rest.
And we could take on these coal and gas corporations that are gouging us.
It’s time to put people first.
It’s time to look at capping electricity prices.
And if that costs money, the coal and gas giants can pay for it.
Instead, Labor’s budget locks in more coal and gas, and uses people’s money to pay for it.
Because at the same time as people are forced to wait years for real relief, Labor is giving gas corporations a free ride.
The Budget showed the existing gas tax - the PRRT - is going to collect almost half a billion dollars *less* than forecast.
Big gas corporations are making giant windfall profits. We should tax them and use the money to help people and businesses with their energy bills, to help them get off dirty and expensive gas with renewables and electrification.
Because the climate crisis is here.
Floods are destroying homes in Melbourne and around the country, in towns on the Loddon and Murray rivers, and ruining crops and driving up inflation further. Insurance is unaffordable. People's entire lives are being dumped out on the street.
Coal and gas are fuelling floods, but in this budget, Labor continues at least $40b in handouts to fossil fuel corporations, including a staggering $1.9 billion to build a gas project in Darwin Harbour and $30m this year alone to open up the giant carbon bomb in the Beetaloo gas basin.
It’s really good to see a Budget that starts to take renewables seriously, but Labor is still throwing money at the coal and gas corporations, pouring fuel on the fire and making the climate crisis worse.
Yes, international factors are important and the previous government left a mess, but these decisions to work with the Liberals to fund gas and give tax cuts to Clive Palmer are being made right here by Labor.
But if Labor stops siding with the Liberals and instead works with the Greens, we also have the power, right here, right now, to deliver people real and immediate cost of living relief.
We could get dental and mental health into Medicare.
We could freeze rents.
We could make childcare genuinely free.
We could wipe student debt.
We could build affordable housing.
We could lift income support to the poverty line.
We could stop new coal and gas.
We could afford all this and help people with the cost of living crisis *now* if we scrapped the stage three tax cuts for the wealthy, axed fossil fuel subsidies and started making big corporations pay their fair share of tax.
The only obstacle to this is Labor.
So Labor, if you’re keen, the Greens stand ready to pass the lot.