The Abbott government has lit its “bonfire” of thousands of redundant regulations on its first self-proclaimed repeal day.
The lower house voted on Wednesday to pass three government bills that together scrap 10,500 redundant acts and regulations.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it is the first of many more repeal days that are lighting a “bonfire” of redundant regulations to ease burdens on business and meet his annual billion-dollar red tape reduction target.
But the opposition claims most of the deregulatory measures were trivialities that corrected spelling errors, punctuation and order of words.
Changing the wording of “facsimile transmission” to fax, or removing the hyphen from email, would have no effect on the lives of workers.
Labor MP Stephen Jones called the whole affair “a great flop”.
“It was as if every kid in the neighbourhood was going to be witnessing a magnificent fireworks display,” he told parliament.
“You can imagine their disappointment when they turned up on the 19th of May (when the bills were introduced) and instead of fireworks all they received was damp sparklers.”
Other Labor MPs said the bonfire was a smokescreen to hide harmful measures such as the abolition of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, changes to financial advice, and wage cuts for cleaners.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg, said Labor was mocking an achievement it failed at in government.
“This is hard for Labor to stomach because we’ve come up with an idea that you did not think of first,” he told the lower house.
All the deregulatory measures would mean a $720 million pay-off to the Australian economy and remove red-tape duplication between the Commonwealth and states.
“It ensures the nanny states live no longer in Australia,” he said.