House debates

Monday, 9 December 2013


Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill 2013; Consideration of Senate Message

5:07 pm

Photo of Steven CioboSteven Ciobo (Moncrieff, Liberal Party, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) Share this | Hansard source

Labor still thinks it is acceptable to say: 'We'll deal with that down the track. We don't want to deal with it now.' I say to members of the Australian Labor Party that that might be how Labor governs but that is not how the coalition governs. That is not our approach. We are not prepared to kick the can down the road. We want to deal with the issue once and we want to deal with it in a way that provides certainty to the economic markets and that does not invite in the kind of Tea Party politics that the Australian Labor Party so warmly embrace.

I never really thought that the member for Melbourne Ports would necessarily be someone who would embrace Tea Party politics, but he is. Like all the members of the Australian Labor Party, he is willing to jeopardise Australia's national interest on short-term political opportunism. So, for that reason, we were willing to talk to anybody else who was willing to put the national interest first. Lo and behold, the Greens were willing to put Australia's national interest first—and that stands in contrast to the Labor Party.

What the Senate has proposed and what we have agreed on with the Greens is a number of measures to enhance transparency around government debt reporting in the budget papers—in particular, there will be a debt statement published in every budget, in every Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and in every pre-election economic and fiscal outlook. In addition, the debt statements will include information about Commonwealth stock and securities on issue at the time of the report for the financial year to which the report relates and for the following three financial years; the value of the Commonwealth's stock and securities, including the market and face value and their value as a proportion of GDP; the total expected interest expenses relating to the stock and securities; and a breakdown by maturity interest payments of the stock and securities on issue at the time of the report. An additional debt statement would also be published should debt increase by $50 billion or more since the last debt statement or additional statement was made.

The amendments that have been put forward are good amendments. The Senate recognises these amendments in a spirit of putting Australia's national interest first, of advancing our national interest and of providing certainty and stability, which stands in contrast to the juvenile approach that we have seen from the Australian Labor Party.


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