16 June 2018
Speech - #2018012, 2018

Address to the Federal Council, Sydney

"A Budget On Your Side"

** check against delivery **

At last year’s Federal Council, I said that as a party our job was not to persuade Australians to be on our side, but to convince and demonstrate to them that we were on theirs.

This remains our task; engaging and demonstrating every day and in every way, that we are working for them and focussed on what matters most to them.

That is what this year’s Budget was about, and it’s what we have been delivering as a Government.

Our plan for a stronger economy demonstrates to Australians we are on their side.

Lower taxes. Creating more jobs. Guaranteeing the essential services that Australians rely on. Keeping Australians safe and ensuring the Government lives within its means. That’s our plan.

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We are on the side of working Australians who should get to keep more of what they have earned by delivering lower taxes.

It’s your money. You earned it. You deserve to keep more of it.

Our Personal Tax Plan, announced in this year’s Budget, is a genuine long-term plan for lower, fairer and simpler personal taxes.

It’s a responsible, well considered, all-inclusive plan to fix some of the real flaws in our tax system that are killing aspiration and preventing Australians from being rewarded for their effort.

Importantly it’s a plan for all Australians who work and pay tax, starting with low to middle income earners who will receive immediate support, right through to the removal of an entire tax bracket, ensuring that by the end of our plan, 94 per cent of Australians will pay a marginal tax rate of no greater than 32.5 cents in the dollar. Bracket creep: dead.

Labor is not on their side. Labor is for higher taxes.

We see the economy as something to grow. Labor sees the economy as something to tax.

The reason, as history shows, Labor just simply cannot control their spending.

As a result, everything that moves, has to be taxed. Everything that is taxed, needs to be taxed more.

It’s a tired, old and failed Labor philosophy that has been turbo-charged under this Leader of the Opposition.

The proof is in the more than $200 billion in extra taxes Labor boast they will impose on the Australian economy, a wrecking ball to growth and jobs; completely undermining the strength that is continuing to build in our economy.

What taxes?

A $20 billion tax on mum and dad investors - nurses, teachers, police – through Labor’s plan to abolish negative gearing for established homes.

A $13 billion extra tax on capital gains tax for all assets, not just housing, upping the rate by 50 per cent, by halving the CGT discount.

A $22 billion tax on wages, courtesy of Labor’s plan to reimpose the deficit levy – permanently – and if they get their way this fortnight another $70 billion in higher income taxes, as they have already sought to cut our personal tax plan in half.

A $22 billion tax on family businesses, with Labor planning to impose a 30 per cent tax rate on distributions from discretionary trusts.

A $25 billion tax on the saving you are putting into your superannuation; lowering the annual non-concessional cap to $75,000; lowering the high income super contribution threshold; reversing the introduction of catch-up concessional contributions.

$65 billion in higher taxes on Australian businesses – although they are yet to cost this plan – courtesy of Labor’s plan to reverse the Turnbull Government’s Enterprise Tax Plan; including the reckless jacking up of taxes on those businesses under $50 million in turnover that have already received their legislated tax cuts.

But perhaps the cruellest tax of all: Labor’s Retiree Tax, stripping away the tax refunds of Australians who simply bought shares in Australian companies to provide for themselves in retirement; a plan they say will raise $56 billion – but over which there are big question marks – that will whack older Australians in particular starting at what they say is more than $5 billion every year.

This is Bill Shorten’s “great” Labor vision for Australia. Tax, Tax, and more Tax.

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We’re on the side of the more than a million Australians who have got a job under the Coalition Government since we were first elected, the families that those jobs support and the businesses that created them and will continue to sustain them.

We are on the side of the 415,000 Australians who went out and got a job just last year – more than a thousand a day – an all time Australian record. On the even more recent data, in the past year 80,200 young Australians got a job – the strongest annual growth since 2008. We now have the lowest youth unemployment rate in more than five years.

We are on the side of Australia’s army of small and medium sized businesses that employ more than one in two working Australians.

They have done it tough over the past decade, dipping into their own pockets to keep staff on and give them pay rises. But now they are starting to see the fruits of their labour, enjoying some of the best trading conditions in years, aided by:

  • our legislated tax cuts for businesses with a turnover under $50 million,
  • our instant asset write-off which is encouraging businesses to invest, hire more Australians and pay them more,
  • our export trade deals that are opening new markets,
  • our defence industry plan that is supporting the transition of Australian manufacturing,
  • our jobs plan that is investing in science, technology and a 21st century medical industry, creating jobs of the future.

Non-mining business investment grew by 10 per cent in the last 12 months, with eight consecutive quarters of growth. That’s the longest continuous growth since before the start of the mining investment boom.

We’re also on the side of Australians who want to see congestion busting, city shaping, investment loosening, economic boosting infrastructure being built in our cities, towns and regions across Australia, spreading the benefits of growth, from the Tulla Rail and the Aerotropolis centred on Western Sydney Airport, to the Frankston Baxter line, the Shoalhaven and Bridgewater Bridges and the boosting of the Bruce Highway and M1.

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We are on the side of families who rely on our hospitals, our schools, child care support, aged care, disability care and affordable medicines.

It is the Turnbull Government that has delivered record funding for hospitals, highlighted in the recent signing with the states of a five-year hospital deal that will provide $30 billion.

It’s the Turnbull Government that has delivered record needs based funding for our schools.

It’s the Turnbull Government that is delivering more affordable child care for those families and those communities that need it most.

It’s the Turnbull Government who in this Budget is on the side of older Australians giving them more choices for a longer and healthier life – more home care places, extending the pension loans scheme and pension work bonus, and initiating programs that will give older Australians additional skills.

We are on the side of Australians who need the assurances that Medicare and the PBS will not only be guaranteed into the future, but strengthened. In the Budget I announced an extra $1.4 billion for listings on the PBS, including medicines to treat spinal muscular atrophy and breast cancer.

Labor is not on their side. Because their commitments are based on a lie. You can’t guarantee essential services that Australians rely on, if you cannot deliver a stronger economy. Labor has no plan for a stronger economy. Labor only has a plan to tax everyone more.

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We are on the side of Australians who want their Government to keep them safe.

Stopping the boats and keeping them stopped.

Protecting Australians from the threat of terrorism.

Hunting down criminals.

Giving our defence forces what they need to do their job to protect our values and our freedom.

Protecting Australia from those who seek to do us harm and exert unwelcome influence on our soil.

This is what the Turnbull Government is doing and can be trusted to keep doing it.

Australians know Labor cannot be relied upon when it comes to these issues. Sure, they may follow our lead from time to time, and try and say the right thing. But Australians know that Labor cannot be trusted to take the lead on national security, to stop the boats and keep them stopped, give our defence forces and national security agencies what the need to do the job – because they didn’t when they had the chance – and we have.

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And we are on the side of Australians who live within their means and expect Governments to do the same.

The Budget is now forecast to return to balance in 2019-20 a year ahead of what we had previously anticipated – six years from when our budget repair task began – the same time it took John Key and Bill English in New Zealand.

Real growth in spending continues to be below two per cent, the lowest rate of any government in more than 50 years.

We have finally turned the corner on debt. We have wrestled Labor’s debt monster to the ground. In this year’s Budget we can now start paying down the debt. It falls by $30 billion over the next four years from its peak and more than $230 billion over the next ten years.

Our record of strong economic management has continued to secure Australia’s AAA credit rating with all three major ratings agencies, one of just ten countries to have achieved this. Moody’s, the latest to confirm our AAA rating just this past week.

Also just this past week Reserve Bank Governor Phil Lowe said that the 3.1 per cent growth we are seeing in our economy, stronger than the top seven advanced economies in the world today, was “confirmation that the Australian economy is moving in the right direction,’’ adding that the figures were “consistent with the bank’s central scenario for the Australian economy to grow more strongly this year and next than it has over recent years’’.

The Turnbull Government’s plan for a stronger economy is working. It is delivering jobs and growth as promised. We need to stick to the plan.

Because at the end of the day, everything rises and falls on a stronger economy. The security of your job, your business, your wage. The essential services you rely on. Bringing the Budget back into balance. All dependent upon a strong economy.

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When I spoke last year I said Australians had turned down the sound on Canberra.

In less than a year Australians will reluctantly turn the sound back up again, as they know they will have a serious choice to make.

In less than a year opinions about politics will turn into real decision – that’s what elections do.

Opinions are interesting but choices have consequences. It’s the old bacon and egg principle. The chicken is interested in the process, it makes a lot of noise, but the pig is committed.

Australians know that the decision about who runs our country is not a reality television show. They know there are real consequences.

It will be a decision about who they believe they can trust with our economy and our national security, because everything else flows from that.

When it comes to the economy, of all the risks our economy faces today, there are none immediately greater than Labor and Bill Shorten.

Why? Because unlike us, he believes the Australian economy can be taken for granted and everything that flows from it. He believes our economic growth is something that just happens. That he will get the keys to The Lodge and expect the economy to just keep powering on regardless of what he does.

Australians know where that ends, but we must remind them.

Australians have a clear choice at the next election: A government for lower taxes, a stronger economy and a safer Australia, under Malcolm Turnbull. Or a weaker economy, with higher taxes, Australians paying more under an uncertain and unbelievable Bill Shorten - unbelievaBill.

The sound is being turned up again. We are and will continue to demonstrate that we are the voice that can be trusted.

A voice that says: We are on your side with a track record and plan for the future that proves it.