Monday, 20 October 2008
Like the member for Hume, I want to speak about the $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy that the Prime Minister and Treasurer handed down last week in the midst of the global economic crisis. Unlike the member for Hume, I want to applaud the package, not criticise it as so many of those opposite have.
The financial package is early and decisive action that I welcome. It will strengthen the Australian financial system, inject billions of dollars into our economy and help to ensure that Australian families are protected from the economic turbulence taking place. More than 10,000 families and 20,000 other people in my electorate, including pensioners and carers, will receive one-off payments to help shield them against the economic storm ahead. The flow-on effects to everyone in my electorate will be substantial.
On a national level, this is unprecedented action. We are doing what a good government should do, which is help protect Australian working families and businesses from a crisis that is beyond our control. Nearly 1.7 million Australian families will receive $1,000 per child—that is extra money for clothes, household items and, of course, Christmas presents for the holiday period ahead. Not only is this Christmas bonus a boost for working families and pensioners, but it is also a boost for Australian businesses, who will reap the benefits of increased spending and confidence in the Australian economy.
But it is clear that the Leader of the Opposition wants to score cheap political points rather than recognising the gravity of the economic situation. On the Insiders program yesterday morning, the opposition leader said, ‘Kevin Rudd has hyped up this crisis.’ Perhaps the opposition leader is from another planet, because the global economic crisis has brought down banks in the US and Europe and has shaken the world’s financial system to its foundations. The opposition leader yesterday made baseless allegations against the government for supposedly not considering other options to the Economic Security Strategy. Yet just last week the opposition leader was quoted in the Herald Sun as saying about the financial package:
It has our support. It will provide a stimulus to the economy, that’s for certain ...
So which is it? Does the opposition leader support the $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy or not? I know I am confused by the opposition’s chopping and changing, but I think the electorate is smart enough not to buy the opposition leader’s extremely poor jibe that the Prime Minister has—and I quote again—‘hyped up’ this crisis for personal gain.
Perhaps the opposition leader should come out to my electorate of Isaacs and tell the 10,743 working families there who will receive $1,000 per child that he wants their money back. Does the opposition leader want to come out to south-east Melbourne and say that the almost $20 million going to these working families in my electorate before Christmas should be taken away? Is he going to say to the pensioners and carers in my electorate that they will not be getting their additional payment before Christmas? The Economic Security Strategy helps protect these very people—working families, pensioners, young families looking to enter the housing market—from the present economic challenges.
It was also a very strong move by the Rudd government to guarantee all Australian bank accounts—no matter the amount—for three years. I was receiving calls before this announcement from people in my electorate concerned about what protections their financial accounts had if a bank failed. While our banking sector is among the strongest in the world, the government has responded to make sure it stays that way. I believe those who had concerns over their own bank accounts have been sleeping a bit easier over the past week.
I am proud to be part of a government that takes decisive action in times of crisis—decisive action that will give assistance to 38,900 people in my electorate, decisive action that will help more than five million people across the country, decisive action to secure all Australians’ bank accounts, decisive action that will strengthen our economy at the time it needs it most.
Question agreed to.