Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill 2013; Consideration in Detail
Mr Deputy Speaker, congratulations on re-election to your high office. It is always interesting to follow my colleague the member for Chifley, and I always appreciate the comments along the way from the member for Moreton. We stand here again to reflect on the financial mismanagement of the former Labor government over the last six years. It is a situation that reminds me of a party. The Labor Party has had a party for the last six years and has woken up with a hangover the next morning—beer bottles all over the lawn, a few bottles of wine off to the side—and said, 'Party—what party?' The Australian people are paying the price as a result.
It is well within the sensible economic management of the future of this country to look at increasing the debt limit once and doing it properly. That is unlike what we have seen from those opposite over the past six years, where they started off at $75 billion, went to $200 billion and said, 'We've had another deficit. We wonder what's going on. We can't manage our finances. Let's increase it to $250 billion,' and then said, 'Let's increase it to $300 billion to give us a bit of a buffer.' They used up that buffer and now, when we say that debt is going to peak at about $370 billion, so we want an extra $40 billion or $60 billion as a buffer, based on the advice of the Australian Office of Financial Management, they do not want to entertain that idea. Yet that is exactly the argument they have used previously. The Greens have not helped the situation over the past few years, aiding and abetting the former government in their spendathon.
As we have constantly seen, it is about controlling your expenditure and, in the process of reviewing what we committed to in this election—to cut the waste and get the budget back in order—that is the very thing we need to do. That debt limit increase gives the flexibility to adjust, to get budget expenditure back under control, but at the same time to reflect varying economic circumstances so that we do not make cuts at times when it is going to hurt our economy. We have to have flexibility within our fiscal arrangements to accommodate any shocks in the global economy. It is prudent to do that up-front and to be honest with the Australian people about why we are going to do it and the reason we are doing it—