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The Waffler from Wentworth

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Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (15:35):  As the smoke clears, the dust settles and the bodies of the fallen are stretchered to the government backbench or sent to the embassy in Washington DC, it becomes increasingly clear that our new unelected Prime Minister, the 'Waffler from Wentworth', is all talk and no action. He is running the government the way a matron from Double Bay might run a dinner party. All luxurious options are on the table to be served by the butler to invited guests, including Senator Sinodinos, who is still under investigation by ICAC, and the lamentable member of the Fisher, who arranged for the former Speaker's diary to be stolen and who is currently under investigation by the AFP.

We have gone from the pompous, clueless moralisers of the Abbott era running the show to the slick 'Age of Turnbull'—

Mr Hartsuyker:  Acting Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member is reflecting on another member. He is reflecting on half the team, in fact. He should confine himself to the debate.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Vasta):  The member for Melbourne Ports has the call.

Mr DANBY:  Thank you very much—where the glorious optimism of the Sydney Harbour front triumphs over the reality of the rest of Australia. As the columnist, Rita Panahi, said:

[The Prime Minister] proves the adage that if you're short on substance, then compensate with plenty of style.

Listen to his speech about the desperate need to update Australia's taxation system and you may be impressed by broad motherhood statements about ''fairness" and "incentivisation" but you will be clueless about how he intends to reform the system.

We on this side of the House want some clarity, some certainty, for Australians. As the member for Jagajaga said during question time, the government is desperately shying away from that. That is why we asked the government if it could rule out a 15 per cent GST on things like fresh food and child care, but the government has refused to give that commitment. We asked the government if it could rule out a 15 per cent GST on aged care and services, but the Prime Minister refused. This is at a time when the Prime Minister wants to spend—while the finance minister wants to save money—$158 million on a useless plebiscite on marriage equality which the Prime Minister, the member for Wentworth, himself had previously derided. It is worth considering what else $158 million could buy—$158 million could pay for 10,000 age pensions for an entire year. More than this, the government is looking to punish grandparents who look after their grandkids. These grandparents are facing cuts to family tax benefit B for kids over 13 and losing family tax benefit B entirely for kids over 16.

Mr Stephen Jones:  That's outrageous.

Source: Broelman

Mr DANBY:  Exactly, it is outrageous. These people stand to lose up to $4,700 per year. Grandparents who look after their grandkids and single parents do all they can for the kids in their charge—they usually do not have disposable income. VBut under this Abbott-Turnbull government they are facing a triple whammy: an increase in the GST, decreasing pensions and an end to their family tax benefit B. NATSEM, the respected social modelling agency, has said that a 15 per cent GST will affect the lowest 20 per cent of income earners, with seven per cent of their income being taken away while the top 20 per cent will only be affected by losing three per cent of their income. I will conclude by quoting the columnist Rita Panahi again in the Melbourne Herald Sun:

It's all well and good for Turnbull—

the Prime Minister, the member for Wentworth—

to wax lyrical about nautical allusions when laying out his blueprint for the taxation system, but the ordinary Australian wants to know whether the GST or Medicare levy will be increased or whether their benefits will be cut in order to balance the Budget.

GST increase will hit Australians hard

As the member for Grayndler said, they say they have got a plan but they just do not want to tell anyone about it. That is what we are trying to force them to fess up to with this MPI—cuts to grandparents who are receiving family tax benefit B will hurt ordinary Australian families, and if that is what the Prime Minister, the member for Wentworth, says will happen then it is certainly not fair. If the Minister for Finance wants an area to cut, get rid of the useless plebiscite on marriage equality, costing $158 million. We are elected here to make the difficult decisions, so there is an area where he could save money immediately.

David Rowe, Cartoonist, Australian Financial Review, 12/11/2015

Scene from Monty Python's- The Meaning of Life

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