I think the people in Western Australia know exactly what they’d get if they voted Labor, because they saw it last time. They saw massive debt, $191 billion worth of Labor deficits and projected deficits of $123 billion. That’s what you’ll get if you vote for Labor. That’s what you need to do—vote Labor, and you’ll get more debt and deficit and another $1.5 billion worth of tax hits on Western Australian small businesses. That’s a great Labor strategy! That’s what we get from Labor.
The member for Cowan made some pretty shocking comments about a white Australia policy. It was actually Labor Prime Minister John Curtin who reinforced the philosophy of the white Australia, saying:
This country shall remain forever the home of the descendants of those people who came here in peace in order to establish in the South Seas an outpost of the British race.
It was Arthur Calwell who sought to deport people on that basis. But it was Liberal Minister Holt’s decision in 1949 that actually started the changes towards a non-discriminatory immigration policy—something that, as a Liberal, I am very proud of, in the same way that I’m very proud to be a Western Australian. That’s what we’ve done.
What will Western Australians get if they get another Labor government? I suspect they’ll get another chance at having live cattle exports shut down. If you were in the agricultural sector under Labor, all you got was increased pain. Look what happened to our ag sector. That decision basically took the heart out of that sector. It was a dreadful decision. We saw it reverberate right around Australia. Labor had absolutely zero interest in the agricultural sector. In rural and regional Australia, you were in a desert under Labor during those years.
What we do know is that Labor has zero interest in small business. We will see small-business taxes increases. We will see that, and we will see changes. We won’t see the instant asset write-off that the small businesses not only in Western Australia but right around Australia are taking advantage of.
I am very pleased to speak about the importance of Western Australia and my electorate of Forrest. It is an amazing part of this country. It’s famous for all sorts of products, from its wine to its food, and its fabulous people. And it’s a premier tourism destination. There is no better place than the South West with our gross regional product at $16 billion—this is an incredible contribution to this nation—and that’s an increase of 35.5 per cent over the previous five years. The South West accounts for 36 per cent of the gross state product in the same year. How vital our region is to the state and the country, an area that I’m particularly proud of, and I’m proud of the men and women who live and work there.
The region’s agricultural production was so maligned by Labor. They shut down the live cattle exports overnight not only depriving those people in Indonesia of a source of protein but having a massive impact right across Australia, right down into my South West. They have zero interest in agriculture, and zero interest in rural and regional Australia. That’s what Western Australians know, should there ever be another Labor government. They have zero interest in rural and regional Australia, and there are very, very few on Labor’s side who’ve ever had any experience in small business. That’s what they know. And, of course, I have so many diverse industries. Whether it’s agriculture, whether it’s tourism, whether it’s forestry, whether it’s fishing, whether it’s mining, whether it’s manufacturing or whether it’s construction, all of that happens in my fantastic part of the world in Western Australia. And I am very, very keen to represent that part of the world here in this parliament. But they do know in Western Australia what they will get with a Labor government. It is debt, it is deficit, and it is taxes guaranteed.
To my small businesses, my small-to-medium enterprises: you know what’s ahead of you. You know so many of the initiatives that we’ve introduced—be it tax cuts for small business, be it issues around that instant asset write-off—and we’re seeing the green shoots of improvement in the economy right around Australia. They are being generated by what this government is doing. I am very proud of what we’re doing, and I know what Labor will do, if it ever gets back into government.