The best way for the economy to work in the interests of working Australians is for there to be a Liberal-National government. When you have a Labor government, they destroy the economy. If you look at the history of Australia, and I encourage those on the other side to look at what happens when Labor get into power, they destroy the economy. They're not nasty people; it's just that they're not very good at things to do with money. They get in there, and it all becomes a bit too much for them, because they don't have the experience and understanding of what you need to drive the economy to help working Australians.
You can look at the history of Australia and look at what happens: Labor get in and they spend money, they go crazy and they destroy the economy, and then we come back in and clean up Labor's mess. It happened in 1931; it happened in 1949; it happened in 1975; it happened in 1996; and it happened recently, in 2013, when we returned to power to clean up Labor's mess. To give you an indication of how bad Labor are at running the economy, let's talk about debt. When John Howard and the Liberal-National coalition won power in 1996, we had $96 billion worth of foreign debt. Mr Howard, Mr Costello and the leaders of the National Party all worked together to get that debt down to zero—we got it down to zero—and we had money in the bank. But in comes the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd-Green conglomerate, which was running Australia, writing out cheques and going crazy, and, when they were thrown out of power in 2013, our debt was hundreds of billions of dollars.
Don't come in here, members of the Labor Party, and talk about the need for the economy to work in the interests working Australians, because you're the problem. The Labor Party and the union movement are the problem when it comes to modern Australia, because they don't understand what it's like to start a business. They don't understand that, when you start a business and when the money comes in, you pay everyone else—you pay your staff, you pay all the bills—before you worry about your own family. It comes down to the culture between the left and the right. The left in this country don't come from the business world; they come for the union world. They come from a background where the money is always going to come in and they don't have to worry about where the money's coming from or balancing the books, because each year, more money comes in.
On this side of the chamber, there are people who have run businesses and who understand that, if you want to help working Australians and if you want to help the economy, the best way is to make sure that business does well. The best way for people to have jobs is not for the government to declare and issue an edict from these granite and marble foyers that make up this city of Canberra to employ more people; it is for government to create the conditions for business to employ more people and for business to grow so those who are working will have secure jobs and jobs that pay well. They are jobs that will make sure that people can look after their families—and they, too, can start a business one day. The great Australian dream is to actually start a business, because it empowers people. It empowers people to understand that no matter what their background, no matter what school they went to or whether they went to university, or whatever it is, whether they have an IQ of 200 or an IQ of 20, the great Australian dream is to start a business. So you are in charge; if you are the boss, you don't have to answer to anyone else. And that's why we push business.
How do we encourage business to grow? It's because we cut taxes. Do you know what? You need taxes to pay for social services, but we cut taxes because we believe that Australian families are the ones who are better to decide how and where they spend their money. We are loud and proud to be the party of cutting taxes because we believe lower taxes are good for you. We believe lower taxes are good for you and your families. We believe lower taxes are good for businesses. We believe lower taxes are good for society as a whole. We believe that the individual—that great construct of the individual—is the person who can best decide how they can spend their money. Not government, not bureaucrats—it is the individual.
In terms of this government and making the economy work in the interests of working Australians, we will cut taxes. We will cut taxes for those who work for business. We will cut taxes for business. But what we have on the other side is a Labor Party that wants to increase taxes. It should be proud and strong about this. The modern Labor Party is not the party of Hawke and Keating in terms of opening up the economy. It is not the party of Hawke and Keating in terms of actually lowering some taxes. This is a party of plagiarism.
What Labor has done is go on the internet and googled: 'How to win an election?' or, 'What does left wing mean?', and it has looked at what has happened. I am not talking about Venezuela; I am talking about Jeremy Corbyn. We have a modern Labor Party that has looked at what has happened in the United Kingdom with Jeremy Corbyn and gone, 'Golly me, Jeremy Corbyn. Let's run this class warfare. Let's run this class warfare argument. Let's see what Corbyn did in the United Kingdom, and let's bring that over here in Australia. Let's get the militant unions in power again. Let's have this class warfare.' That is what the modern Labor Party has become. 'Let's put taxes on people and businesses. Let's put taxes on people who want aspiration and hope for their families.'
The modern Labor Party are going to grind down this economy. God help us all if you ever win an election again. I will do my utmost to make sure you never win an election again at a national level because of the damage that you create and the damage you inflict on working Australians. You sit there in your ivory towers. You want to raise taxes here. You want more red tape here. You talk about class warfare while you are sipping your soy lattes and you don't understand what you're doing in terms of how you are damaging working Australians. Where are you on the Adani project? Where are you standing up for hope in Central Queensland and North Queensland with the 10,000 jobs that will come out of that project to help working Australians. Do you know what? We don't just get silence from the Labor Party but have the Labor Party actively attacking this project and actively attacking people who want to get a job and who want to get ahead to make sure they can look after their families.
Don't come into this chamber and talk about equity and use words like that which one of your researchers has used a thesaurus to find those types of things. Come in here and talk about jobs. Come in here and talk about helping businesses. Come in here and talk about cutting taxes. Come in here and talk about helping Australians get on with their lives by growing business, cutting taxes and standing up for freedom rather than standing up for political correctness rot.