House debates

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill 2013; Consideration in Detail

7:40 pm

Photo of Ed HusicEd Husic (Chifley, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

Mr Deputy Speaker, who are these people? Who are these people who, before the election, were talking about budget emergencies and railing against debt, and then they come in here and they are saying something different. It is like they have been to one of these RSL hypnosis shows and they have been told, 'when you hear the clap, you will no longer be vandals and you will no longer rail against debt and deficit, and you will say, "we need to increase the debt limit".' This is magic! It is amazing to see. The problem for the coalition is that they are all of a sudden doing something that the rest of the public would never expect them to do. The public would never expect them to suddenly become the friends of debt, lifting up the debt limit to 500 billion dollars. You would never believe it, but the Treasurer has been talking about the need, possibly, for stimulus. After telling us we should not be having it, he has been saying, 'we need stimulus'. And he has been talking about the need to invest in infrastructure. The coalition is suddenly talking about all these things. Their problem is that the message now does not match with what they said before.

There is a way to fix it though—that is, give us the facts. How could those facts be presented? Here is a suggestion: why not release the incoming Treasurer's brief? We had PEFO; it outlined the state of the books. Now you have the incoming Treasurer's brief. And what happened? Apparently, Treasury will not release the detail because they think the working relationship is more important than the relationship with the Australian public. Apparently, their emotional intelligence is more important than giving us the actual economic data that can help, potentially, paint a clearer picture of where things stand. They will not do it. The Treasurer comes in today, like he did in question time, talking about everyone else's stats. He quotes every source other than, I don't know—Treasury! He does not actually quote Treasury to the Australian people, as to what the state of the books are.

We are prepared—as the shadow treasurer has indicated through his amendment—to allow $400 billion right now. We will allow $400 billion to accommodate what was already anticipated in the Pre-election Economic Forecast. We said we would do that. And if you want to go above it, come back and tell us why. And the way to do it—


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