Thursday, 4 February 2016
Questions without Notice
Goods and Services Tax
I will give him some advice. I will give him some advice in relation to the last part of the question. I will quote someone else who was on radio today. In fact, the former Prime Minister and Treasurer, Paul Keating, was talking to Alan Jones this morning. Here is a bit of advice: 'When Commonwealth revenue has been so affected'—this is what Paul Keating said to Alan Jones—'the penny ought to drop that what we should be doing is cutting spending.' That is what the former Treasurer, Paul Keating—he was referring to me—said and has said for some weeks now. On this point, he is actually right.
What we are doing on this side of the House is reducing government spending as a share of the economy from 25.9 per cent down to 25.3 per cent. If we had done nothing over the last several years, it would have hit 26.5 per cent of GDP under the high-spending, high-taxing policies of those who previously occupied these benches. On this side of the House, we are absolutely committed to getting the fiscal consolidation plans implemented, because, at times like this, when we know of the volatility that is occurring globally and we have Australians looking at what could be happening to their savings and their investments and all of these things, they will look at these things with some uncertainty. That is why the government has to focus on strengthening our financial position and not engage in the reckless tax-and-spend approach which left this government with the reckless fiscal position those opposite bequeathed to us. As a government, we are focused on the task of strengthening our budget and strengthening our finances, and the former Treasurer, Paul Keating, says we have that right.