Mr GILES (Scullin) (16:16): On Wednesday at lunchtime I attended the Whittlesea and District Greek Elderly Citizens Club. I was very pleased to be invited to that club to speak on the budget. I thank the members of the club, in particular Steve Williams and Tom Vlahos, for their invitation and for their very warm welcome.
The Whittlesea and District Greek Elderly Citizens Club knows the value of fairness. It knows the importance of a society underpinned by a government that cares for the vulnerable and those who need our collective assistance. So they did not wait to hear from me to speak on the budget. They knew about the cruelty in the budget. They knew about the meanness of spirit evident in every word uttered by the Treasurer and about its impact on our communities in Melbourne's north. They had heard the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Maribyrnong, and his reply.
They wanted to know whether I would be standing with the member for Maribyrnong in standing up for our communities. They wanted to know, also: why would a government break so many promises to deliver so much harm to them, who are mostly pensioners, of course, and to their children? But, most importantly, they wanted to know about the prospects for their grandchildren in terms of the cruel cuts to youth support and to higher education. So I stand here, as I did in Thomastown last Wednesday, to say I am on the side of the members of the Whittlesea and District Greek Elderly Citizens Club, and I and my Labor colleagues will hold this government to account and stand up for an Australia that has a vision for the members of the club, their children and their grandchildren—an Australia that is big and bold, not one which is narrow and mean-spirited.