<i>Illustration: michaelmucci.com</i>

Illustration: michaelmucci.com

The reality is that despite the fear-mongering, Australia’s economy is in good shape. We have 12 per cent of our GDP as debt, while the average debt in the OECD countries is 73 per cent of GDP.  

Australia is one of only 11 nations in the world to have a triple-A credit rating, yet we spend less than half of what other OECD countries spend, on average, on pensions for our aged, disabled and veterans.

The federal government seeks to cut our budgets so it can gain control of our money.

Traditionally, governments in the first year following an election blame the other side for their circumstances. The government takes control of as much of our money as it can. In year two they keep gaining control of more and more money so they can release as much of it as possible in the third year of their term, just prior to another election.

''We couldn’t have done what we have done if we hadn’t made the right decisions in the first two years of our term.'' This is the popular line they tell the voters so that at the time of the election everyone is happy and they have the best chance of being re-elected.

In the meantime, the damage to many Australians’ lives will have been done. Many of our pensioners will have seen their twilight years extinguished in difficult circumstances thanks to Joe Hockey and his cohorts.

Single mothers, women (working in offices or at home), families on the land and families throughout Australia will suffer. Our education and health systems have started to decline.

As it has been said, the cost of 12 years’ education through high school is equivalent to one year’s unemployment. A good education policy is not just good social policy, it's good economic policy as well.

How long will it be until this country gets a government that cares about its people? To serve in Parliament and to serve your fellow citizens should be the highest calling in our society. But that's not how the nation views those in Canberra. Rightly so.

Australia needs to project what we might become. The problems we have in this country have been made by Australians and they can be solved by Australians.

All we get from this government is bad news. Australians needs to be proud of who we are. We must celebrate the smiles on our children’s faces in the morning, the worth of our marriages, the credibility of public office and the strength of our values. 

We can follow the example of the Anzacs and serve our nation and make our sunburnt country a nation we can all be proud of. Under the Southern Cross we want all Australians to be free and independent.

In the first week of July we will stand in the Senate, as the last sentry at the gate protecting the rights of all Australians, to defend our standard of living.

Palmer United will not allow the government to increase the Medicare co-payment and will protect senior citizens and all pensioners.  

After the budget I was approached by four female seniors who said they didn’t vote for me or my party at the election. They told me they voted for the Liberal Party as they had done for 50 years.

Their husbands had fought in World War II and Korea. They told me that when they receive their pension cheque, they hand it over to the nursing home that looks after them and are handed back $15 each week. 

Every Friday they pool their money to catch a taxi and see a movie. Sometimes with the little bit of money they have left over, they have a coffee or chocolate before going back to the nursing home.

Not any longer under Abbott's plans. They are terrified they may need $15 to see a doctor. Their movie days and chocolates and coffee are over.

I didn’t get elected to Parliament to allow that to happen. We will also stop the provisions where the orphans of our brave servicemen lose their benefits. I didn't get elected to Parliament to take money off orphans of the mothers and fathers of service personnel who have died serving Australia.

Direct action is over, it is a waste of money by politicians who don’t care about the average Australian, let alone the climate.

The government has more than 1900 media advisers (spin doctors and communications staff for the government and its departments). We have none on our staff. We have no party offices in Parliament House. The government has denied us party status and has failed to recognise the fact that we received a higher vote than the National Party.

Tony Abbott became the Prime Minister only because of our preferences. Palmer United is the fourth-largest political party in Australia and holds the balance of power in the Senate.

Our representatives in the Northern Territory, Queensland and the Australian Parliament won’t betray their principles. Palmer United won’t be forced into abandoning the people who voted for us. We have a strong commitment to Australia, to its independence and the essence of what it means to be in Australian.

We won't betray that for anyone.

Clive Palmer is the leader of the Palmer United Party and federal member for Fairfax.