Dr CHALMERS (Rankin) (15:59): The 5,000 people at Qantas who found out today that they will not have a job anymore, the 63,000 full-time employees who have found out since the election that they will not have a job anymore, the workers in Gove and the workers at Toyota and Holden will be really, really relieved to hear today from the Prime Minister that, instead of a plan for jobs, he is offering a glass and a half of hope. The reality is that hope will not put food on the table for all of those tens of thousands of workers while the Prime Minister determines that he is above coming up with a jobs plan for our community.
The Prime Minister's word might mean something if you are a chocolate lobbyist or a chocolate economist. If you are a former Howard government minister, his word might mean something. As I have said before, the job market is flash if you used to be in the Howard cabinet. But for 63,000 people, it is pretty ordinary. The members who spoke before me, the good speakers from our side, talked about the broken promises in health, education, and in terms of transparency and standards, and there are the other broken promises on things like the ABC and the NBN. I know that the Prime Minister has said before that you can only take him at his word when it is a scripted comment, so I thought we should probably go back to his campaign speech. He would not only like to pretend that he is not the same guy who made all these promises; he would like to pretend that he has never met him. Let us remind people of what he said in his election campaign speech:
It's performance, not promises, that will earn your respect; it's actions, not words, that you are looking for.
When it comes to the jobs market, it is not enough to have a glossy brochure about a million jobs when you are going backwards by 63,000 jobs. The then opposition leader also said in his campaign speech—and I agree with him:
… you don't build a better society by issuing a press release.
The same is true about a glossy brochure about a million jobs. Another thing that the then opposition leader said in his campaign speech:
I want our workers to be the best paid in the world...
That is what he said in his campaign speech when he was looking for people's votes. He wants people to be the best paid in the world, unless they are in aged care, child care, small business or any of the other industries where we have seen wages cut. He also said:
I want to lift everyone's standard of living.
Again, that is unless you are in aged care, child care, small business; unless you are relying on the schoolkids bonus or low-income super; unless you are a multicultural community relying on a grant to help out your community; unless you want to take your kids to the doctor, particularly if you have a big family, and paying $6 every time stings. That is what he said about the standard of living.
Those opposite will like this one. He said:
We'll get the budget back under control …
Those opposite are all into that. Then he did a grubby deal with the Greens to take off the debt limit on the national credit card. He said before the election, 'We'll get the budget under control,' and then he did a deal with the Greens to jack up the debt.
An opposition member interjecting—
Dr CHALMERS : It is the Buzz Lightyear deal: 'To infinity and beyond.' The next thing he said in his campaign speech was that Australia will be 'open for business'. Again, that is unless you are GrainCorp, Holden or Toyota; unless you are the small businesses that he took the investment allowance and the loss carry-back from. Australian is open for business except if you are in any of those industries. Another thing he said really got my attention when I was reading it today. He said:
I will govern for all Australians.
Again, not if you are in a multicultural community and you require a grant, not if you have sick kids and you cannot afford to go to the doctor, not if you are in small business and you need loss carry-back or the investment allowance, not if you are someone who needs a couple of hundred dollars at the start of the year to buy the textbooks, not if you are a childcare worker looking after little kids in our community—
Ms Henderson: Racist.
Mr Hunt: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask the member to withdraw the comments in relation to multicultural communities. They are offensive and carry deep and dark implications and should not be allowed to stand.
Ms Bird: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would ask the member to withdraw the accusation of 'racist'.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): I will firstly rule on the minister's point of order. It has been a lively debate and I will let the comments stand unless the member for Rankin would like to withdraw it in the interests of the chamber.
Dr CHALMERS : Yes, I will do that. Thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the member for Rankin. And I would ask the member for Corangamite to withdraw the comment in the interests of the chamber.
Ms Henderson: Given the previous reference has been withdrawn, I happily withdraw. Thank you.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I will give the member for Rankin some extra time. He has about 40 seconds.
Dr CHALMERS : It remains the case that the multicultural grants have been cut and the Victorian branch turned around after cutting the multicultural grants and asked for a donation from the multicultural community. Those are the facts of the matter. The reality is that this is not the government that people voted for. They did not vote for lower wages. They did not vote for fewer jobs. We will keep holding the government accountable. (Time expired)