State Economy June Public Interest Debate

08 June 2021

Public Interest Debate

I thank the Government and the member for Manly for bringing this public interest debate [PID] on building a strong economy to the House for debate because it looks very similar to what was last brought to the House on 11 May by the member for Hawkesbury. I have that motion right here. On 11 May the topic reads "Building for a post-COVID economy". Now I have today's motion from the member for Manly, "Building a strong economy". Uh oh, it looks like someone has not been doing their homework in bringing the same PID for the same debate with the same talking points and using the same spin. My goodness.

The best and the brightest economic sparks in the Liberal Party thought you could build a better economy in response to a pandemic by deleting three words and replacing them with one. This is a really bad economic episode of the Liberal Party groundhog day. Government members speaking on this issue are not economic policymakers, they are political plagiarists and very bad ones at that. Since this was last debated last month, there have been many factors that could and continue to hinder our economic recovery. There is the arrival of the extremely infectious delta variant, which could wreak significant havoc on our economic activity; worries about potential inflation, given the global liquidity being pumped; ongoing strained relations with our biggest export market; the university sector, which is one of the biggest parts of the economy, is coming under pressure; flat wages reduce domestic spending; rampant housing prices; and, of course, the national accounts show a patchy recovery in New South Wales household spending on private-sector dwellings, food and cafes. What is the Government's answer to all these challenges? Plagiarise last month's PID with a few wording changes and hope no one notices.

The member for Hawkesbury is in here. She has super spread the economic plagiarism virus to the member for Manly: The economic brains trust at work. Someone tell the Premier to send a diplomatic cable to Sweden's central bank for a Nobel Prize to be sent here for Government members pronto, because economic theory on plagiarism is the panacea for all our economic challenges from the pandemic. I know that the Treasurer has given those talking points to all Government members who are speaking on this motion. We all know his strong US links, given he did use public money to hire a public operative in his office. But rather than seeking thoughtful analysis from local, credible think tanks, economics professors and industry intelligence, the Treasurer has been seeking economic guidance from this guy.

This is the Liberals' economics shaman who has advised there are no economic challenges, so just plagiarise last month's speaking notes. I have Government members' speaking notes and I have them all highlighted. You had better not recycle and repeat those lines because you do not want to get caught cheating, do you? That is not very nice. This is also in Hansard so we all know what members say. Our economic wellbeing impacts every aspect of our quality of life now and for future generations. As a humble working class economist—my colleague the member for Wollongong is one of those as well—I offered bipartisanship last month with some thoughtful suggestions. It is obvious that Government members on that occasion were not listening to all the great ideas coming from our side of the Chamber. I hope this time they are actually paying attention. Here we go again. Quite frankly, this Government is totally clueless on how to grow a strong economy. Even in question time today, the responses about the low wages for paramedics shows that the importance of linking wages with domestic spending, increasing economic activity and better wages does not resonate with the Government.

Given those opposite were not even listening the first time, perhaps the best way to begin today's PID—which is, of course, last month's PID and probably is next month's PID—is with what not to do when building a stronger economy. Do not cut frontline workers' wages. Do not pander to tolling giants by introducing a new toll on an old road that strangles household budgets. Do not ever introduce a never-ending land tax on the family home masquerading as some economic unicorn for housing affordability. And stop blowing billions on infrastructure projects. [Extension of time not granted.]