Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill 2013; Consideration in Detail
I move the amendment circulated in my name:
(1) Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (line 6), omit "$500", substitute "$400".
This bill just passed the House. The Labor Party supported it. Unlike the Liberal Party in 2009 and 2012, we will support an increase in the debt cap. That is the responsible and measured thing to do. The Prime Minister erroneously claimed that the Liberal Party did not vote against increases in the debt cap. He did it in question time today. He misled the House in his first question time as Prime Minister, an inauspicious start. But the Labor Party takes a more sensible and mature approach. We have approved the increase in the debt limit. But we do have an amendment, which I have moved. The amendment is that we only authorise an increase in the debt cap of $100 billion. That is not a small or a trifling amount of money. It is a significant increase.
Let the member for Moncrieff or the Treasurer say here at the dispatch box that that would not be enough to get them through December. Would it be enough to get them through December? Of course it would—unless the budget has deteriorated more than the Treasurer has let on, or unless he is planning more giveaways, like the ones he has made since he became Treasurer, like the grant to the Reserve Bank of $9 billion. The Treasurer claims that the Reserve Bank asked for that. The Treasurer claims that the Reserve Bank asked for $8.8 billion. I asked him to release the request. He refused. I FOI'd the request. The Treasury refused to release it under FOI. We have moved in the Senate that the Senate demand the release of the document. If that passes the Senate, the Treasurer will be obliged to release the letter. He says that he would love to. If he would love to, he could release it. If he has nothing to hide, he could release the letter from the Governor of the Reserve Bank that says, 'Please give me $8.8 billion this year.' He says that he would like to release it. He could release it, but he has not and he will not, unless he is forced to.