House debates

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Questions without Notice

Budget

2:01 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. His Liberal government's priority has been to abolish the national debt limit and double the deficit, adding $68 billion for new spending and changed economic assumptions. Doesn't this demonstrate his government's short-sighted, twisted budget priorities?

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Our priority is scrapping the carbon tax and boosting family income by $550 a year. Our priority is scrapping the mining tax and boosting investment and jobs right around Australia. Our priority is restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission and adding $6 billion a year to our economy and productivity improvements. Our priority is stopping the boats—and it is working. And on all of these grave matters for the security and the prosperity of our country, we are being opposed by members opposite.

2:02 pm

Photo of Karen McNamaraKaren McNamara (Dobell, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. How will fixing the budget strengthen the economy to the benefit of Australian businesses and families?

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Dobell for her question, and I wish to reassure her and all members of this House that this government's absolute commitment is to build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia. We are scrapping bad taxes, we are building the roads of the 21st century, we are finalising free trade agreements with our major trading partners, and we are restoring a sustainable budget surplus by ending Labor's waste. And isn't it so necessary to end Labor's waste? Because this government's fiscal inheritance was cumulative deficits of $123 billion over the forward estimates period—that is 123 thousands of millions of dollars and a projected debt of $667 billion—thousands of millions of dollars.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

Photo of Mrs Bronwyn BishopMrs Bronwyn Bishop (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Isaacs will desist.

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Labor's projected debt was going to be $23,000 for every Australian man, woman and child—that is the credit card bill for every Australian man, woman and child that the Leader of the Opposition wanted to leave us with. This government understands that you cannot fix the economy unless you fix the budget, and a stronger budget means lower taxes and more jobs. We were very up-front with the Australian people before the election: the schoolkids bonus would go, the income support bonus would go, because you cannot give what you have not got, and you cannot give away to people what you just cannot afford. And Labor's mining tax, which is supposed to support $13 billion worth of spending, was raising just $300 million. That is why these things simply cannot be afforded. We have had $20 billion in savings before the Senate—$15 billion of coalition savings, $5 billion in Labor savings—and Labor is against all of it. They just do not get it. I say that no country can ever spend its way out of economic trouble, and no government can ever spend money it has not raised.

Ms Plibersek interjecting

Photo of Mrs Bronwyn BishopMrs Bronwyn Bishop (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Sydney will desist!

Dr Chalmers interjecting

The member for Rankin is warned.

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Tough decisions are coming, but they are necessary decisions for the prosperity of our country. We will keep our commitments, and the most fundamental commitment of all is to restore the budget.

2:05 pm

Photo of Chris BowenChris Bowen (McMahon, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to his statement in the House that 'if you get on with the job of fixing the budget, you have a chance of fixing the economy'. Why then has the Treasurer's budget priority been to double the deficit by adding $68 billion in new spending and changed economic assumptions?

Photo of Joe HockeyJoe Hockey (North Sydney, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I just want to deal head-on with this great fiction. The Labor Party's record was $190 billion of deficits in five years. I know that the member for Lilley is hurting about that, because he promised there would be a surplus. In fact, they all promised there would be a surplus. There was no surplus. There is no surplus. In fact, the legacy of Labor is that over the next 10 years there is no surplus, there is no repayment of debt. So, as you can see, the Labor party legacy of debt and deficit was not just for the period they were in government; it is for as far as you can see in the years ahead—$667 billion dollars

Labor's legacy out of all of that—which they are in denial about—is that they left an economic environment with deteriorating terms of trade, with rising unemployment, and with below trend growth. Labor's legacy was 200,000 more Australians unemployed between the time they went into government and the time they left government.

Labor's legacy in relation to economic reform was to impose more regulation on Australian businesses. In fact Labor introduced 22,000 new regulations in just five years—and there is no sense of embarrassment.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

Photo of Mrs Bronwyn BishopMrs Bronwyn Bishop (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Isaacs is warned.

Photo of Joe HockeyJoe Hockey (North Sydney, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

The problem for our opponents is that if they cannot be honest enough with themselves about what their legacy really was they will never be able to deal with the challenges of the future in an honest way. They do not get it. This is their legacy: $123 billion of deficits, $667 billion of debt, and an Australia that is not as competitive with the world as it should be. That is the Labor legacy, but they do not get it. Instead, they try to create a fictional legacy, and they repeat it and repeat it and repeat it, thinking that the Australian people are so stupid that eventually their fiction will become a truth.

The fact is Labor were terrible economic managers. Labor were hopeless at running the economy. Labor were hopeless at running the budget.

Mr Champion interjecting

Photo of Joe HockeyJoe Hockey (North Sydney, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

And, sadly, the Australian people have paid the price.