Thursday, 20 March 2014

Speech in Parliament - Matters of Public Importance - Commission of Audit Report - 19 March 2014

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (16:00): As I have listened to the three contributions from those opposite I see confected outrage, that unembarrassable quality, and Western Australian voters, of course, have seen it before. You would think from listening to them that Western Australian voters are going to forget that the two biggest issues in that state at the election just over six months ago were the carbon tax and the mining tax. The voters of Western Australia sent a message loud and clear to the Labor Party, and your response back to those voters in Western Australia is that they got it wrong.

We saw this confected outrage start with the member for Brand, who moved this matter of public importance on the Commission of Audit and the state of Western Australia. He and those other speakers conveniently forget their approach in government to weighty documents. As the Prime Minister has outlined, the government has received phase 1 of the Commission of Audit. He has not received phase 2, and it is right and proper that government ministers consider a weighty document and what is to come before making decisions. This is a report to government, not of government.

For those opposite to come in here with confected outrage to try to whip up fear amongst Western Australian voters to cover their policy failures on the carbon tax and the mining tax is to be expected. With the exception of the member for Perth, who I will come to during my contribution, they all sat there through the last parliament; and Wayne Swan, the member for Lilley, as the Treasurer received the Australia's future tax system review a couple of days before Christmas. He had this to say:

As I have been saying for some time, the Government will consider the review and release it in early 2010, along with an initial response.

One hundred and thirty days went by. The member for Brand, who has obviously had an irony bypass, did not seem at all concerned that, when it was finally released a week before the budget—we went through January, February, March, April and into May—it of course contained what new tax? It contained the mining tax. What did the member for Brand say publicly at that point? What did other Western Australian members say about that mining tax and the damage it would do to their state? Where were they standing up for Western Australian voters at that time? You heard complete silence. It was as if they had been muted by a TV remote control. You heard nothing from the member for Brand.

The member for Perth, we were told a few weeks ago, told the Labor caucus that the mining tax was damaging. I am not getting any shaking of the heads. I am presuming I am right.

Ms Brodtmann: We do not say what happens in caucus.

Mr TONY SMITH: 'We do not say what happens in caucus.' There is confirmation here in the House of Representatives that the member for Perth was opposed to the mining tax. Like so many other members of the Labor Party, it appears the member for Perth has been reprogrammed. My friend the Minister for Communications might know what software was used! But today the member for Perth said, 'It is complete nonsense to say that the carbon tax or, indeed, the mining tax has in fact had a negative impact on the Western Australian economy' in complete contradiction to her earlier point and in complete denial of the fact that last year, as we have heard from speakers on this side, the carbon tax cost Western Australia alone more than $600 million.

Those opposite are doing two things. They will run a scare campaign and they will do it to try to cover the fact that they are defying the will of the electorate, particularly in Western Australia, on the carbon tax and the mining tax. For those voters in Western Australia, every time they hear a Labor scare it is confirmation that Labor is ignoring them and Labor is still attached to two damaging taxes that have damaged their economy and, if Labor has their way, will continue to do so.

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