SPEECH TO PARLIAMENT
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
1 DECEMBER 2021
You can watch the speech here
Mark it down: Wednesday 1 December 2021 is the day that the dream of homeownership died under the member for Nicholls's way of thinking. The member for Nicholls has just said that money has never been cheaper. It's never been easier to get a loan. Well, let me tell you, if you're a casual worker in Australia, it is nigh impossible not only to get a loan, to get a mortgage, but also to get a rental property. That's aside from the fact that the market is hot. We've just heard today from the shadow minister for homelessness about newspaper articles on real people here in Australia, in 2021, sitting in the boot of their car. We heard about a family looking for a home and a nurse who had to live in her car.
This is not the stuff of fiction; these are real Australians today, trying to find a home in Australia.
Then the member for Nicholls says the apprentices aren't there! Ha! After eight years of absolutely hacking into vocational education and training and letting all of the rorts and rip-offs happen, no wonder the apprentices aren't there. This economy has been honeycombed, absolutely hollowed out, by a stale, tired government that quite frankly doesn't want to be here. They're a do-nothing government. This government proclaim that they want to get out of people's way, but they knife each other day in, day out to get to this place, and then when they're here they rort and they re-route the public purse for their own disposal. So no wonder Australians think that they are on the nose.
This government has failed to increase real wages and the price of living, and the cost of living has gone up. Mince today is $13 per kilo. That's not for your lean, heart-smart mince. No, that'll set you back between $18 and $23 a kilo! That's regular mince. An iceberg lettuce costs somewhere between $2.50 and $5. These are the real things that people buy every day. That's the real cost of living.
The price of a mortgage, the price of paying rent—these are some of the biggest investments in someone's pay packet, and they are going up while real wages are going down, and across the country we have seen this like never before during this pandemic. Those opposite try and use the pandemic as a life raft to try and avoid the sinking ship that has been nearly a decade of this stagnant coalition government, now led by this leader. Many people when they talk to me in the shops—when they are buying their mince and their lettuce—say, 'Gee, Meryl, I think this is all on the nose.' Well, it well and truly it is.
Let me tell you, after eight long years, those opposite have lost the answer. In my electorate, the people of Paterson are fed up. They've watched this government fail to increase wages, watched this government fail to back in penalty rates, watched them fail to invest in trades training and training for professionals we so desperately need.
The rising cost of living is leaving a generation of first-home buyers out in the cold. The Australian dream of home ownership is well and truly dead. And in my electorate I have people waiting three to six months to be able to secure a rental property. Even then, the rents are so outlandishly high that the household budget is shredded by it.
I have been very vocal in this place about Labor's plan to ensure same job, same pay, and I was so proud to be able to second Anthony Albanese's bill for that same measure: same job, same pay.
I want to say to you that this government has failed. People of the Hunter: you have been ripped off by your government. You have been rightly confused when Senator Malcolm Roberts, who parades around the Hunter and says he backs workers in, votes with this government at every given opportunity. Let me tell you, One Nation might make a decent cartoon, but they run roughshod over the people of Paterson, hand in glove with this government. So do not believe them when they tell you they stick up for you as well. They do not stick up for you. Labor stands for same job, same pay, and we will do that every day for you as a hardworking Australian. This government has abandoned the hardworking Australians.