Monday, 9 December 2013
Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill 2013; Consideration of Senate Message
No. The debt limit is a construct of the Australian Labor Party. Let's not forget that this was brought in in 2008. Let's keep in mind that at that point we had no debt, as a legacy of the Howard-Costello government. We had money in the bank. We were in a super position fiscally. In 2008 the Australian Labor Party came to this place on the back of the perception of a new superhero fiscal conservative in Mr Rudd—and what did we see? The first debt limit was set at $75 billion. Then they asked, 'Mr Bank Manager, can I have more?' It then went to $200 billion. Then they asked, 'Mr Bank Manager, can I have more?' It went to $250 billion. It went on and on. Thank goodness the Australian people spoke so loudly on 7 September and said, 'Enough is enough. We need to get the finances of this country back under control.'
What is absolutely ironic about this is that at the start of this whole process, when this bill was first introduced by the Treasurer, those on the opposite side were offered briefings. They refused to have them. The dead giveaway, when the Treasurer was bringing this matter to a conclusion today with his speech earlier, was that the accused, the shadow Treasurer, could not face the prosecutor. That is always a dead giveaway. He sat there. He twirled in his seat. His eyeballs rolled around in their sockets. He could not look the Treasurer in the eye. The Treasurer nailed him. The shadow Treasurer left a massive black hole. He left skeletons and black spiders in every cupboard. We are here now to declare, 'We will clean up the mess.' But those opposite should not stand in our way. The Greens have come to an agreement with us to make sure that we can continue to pay the bills when the time comes in the very near future. It is about time that those on the opposite side woke up to themselves, because they are nothing but economic pygmies.