Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (19:45): I rise today to call out Labor's favourite political tactic, and that would be the old class warfare dog whistle—rich versus poor; haves versus have-nots; a black and white, zero-sum game that holds to the socialist ideals and those communist undertones. It's such a poor and lazy substitute for a real, wholesome debate, and yet Labor, the Greens, GetUp! and just about every modern leftist movement trot out the same tactics and use them mercilessly, usually when they don't have solutions to put forward themselves.
The Leader of the Opposition's Press Club address last month and his follow-up comments since are a case in point; the opposition leader and Labor have been big on class warfare rhetoric. The Leader of the Opposition tried the old bait and switch, stating that we should end division and create a more cohesive and constructive political discourse but then accusing the business sector and the conservatives of being responsible for a 'left-behind society', insinuating that one section of society is benefiting at the direct expense of the other—what absolute rubbish! I'm not for a minute suggesting that there aren't people doing it tough. There certainly are many people in my area who are doing it tough. They are struggling in the face of serious challenges—financial, social and health difficulties—and it's incumbent on all of us in this place to do more to improve the situation of our fellow Australians who are marginalised, no doubt, and no-one would oppose that. There are also many people who would not see themselves as marginalised but who feel that the agenda, policies and values that they see played out on the national stage are not the things that matter to them the most. We have to strive to align our priorities with theirs, absolutely.
I'm not saying that business as usual is good enough, but I do say that we have to shake things up. But the answer isn't bigger government controlling more of the levers. Labor's plan for wage fixing, higher taxes, robbing people's retirement incomes, capping health insurance and mandating the use of green energy is only a recipe for more pain and alienation, especially for the poorest in our community and for the poorest in my electorate of Wright.
Labor's plan to steal from our retirees, pensioners and low-income earners by changing the dividend imputation rules not only will directly affect 1.1 million Australians who have worked hard, saved and paid taxes their entire lives—and they have paid taxes their entire lives, so don't come in here and say that they're not paying any tax—but also will affect every Australian with a superannuation account, as the managers of those accounts will be forced to change their investment strategies. It will hurt Australian companies that traditionally pay higher dividends than overseas companies. The consequences of Labor's other tax policies, which include limiting negative gearing and halving the capital gains tax discount, are equally huge. These have the potential to adversely impact the financial future of so many hardworking Australians who are doing the right thing and trying to plan for their retirement.
Labor also plans to ride roughshod over the private health system. This will only drive people out and put more pressure on the public health system, meaning longer waiting times for the most vulnerable people, who rely on the public hospital system. As for their ideologically driven plan to replicate South Australia's disastrous 50 per cent renewable energy target, that is expected to drive electricity prices up even higher and add to the price squeeze families currently face. Their plan to trash over 100 years of an independent body setting the minimum wage is expected to cost businesses over $8 billion, and that cost will be felt by all Australians in the form of increased prices and less business growth, which means fewer jobs. Tonight, you heard those on the other side in the previous debate say that they are going to reintroduce free university education. I look forward to seeing how they cost that out in the upcoming budget!
These aren't solutions. They are more of the same big-government Labor policies that proved so disastrous under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments, sidestepping more and more to the left under pressure from the Greens and the monster they helped create—GetUp!
What I put to the House is that Labor simply can't provide the solutions that Australians are looking for, and they'll only make our problems worse. Their divisive, class-warfare dog whistle is a glaring example of how they're only focused on hoodwinking people to win votes. Abraham Lincoln said, 'You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.' That is pretty basic economics—everyone knows that. Unfortunately, Labor is not aware of that.
Video of Speech: https://youtu.be/1029OFPlbew