Thursday, 5 May 2016
I thought the Quarterly Essay by George Megalogenis was magnificent. In it he said that the country is in an almost impossible position because the Liberals will not borrow money, which means, of course, that they cannot do anything. What they spend this year will be what they spent last year. But if you want to develop a dam or a Galilee Basin or whatever then you have to borrow. A magnificent example of that in the budget was the decision not to give loans for water development but to allow the states to borrow the money, which was very, very cunning indeed. Minister Joyce can run around building dams, but in actual fact the federal government will have no debt burden. So it is impossible for the Liberal Party, because of their ideology, and their lapdogs, the National Party—and I say that with some malice—to do anything.
As to the Labor side, Megalogenis makes the point that, yes, they borrow money—they have no hesitation to borrow money! They put pink batts in your roof; they make improvements to school buildings. It is magnificent stuff for the future of Australia—things that we really need. They have already announced that it is no problem at all to borrow $4,000 million to put a rail bridge across the Brisbane River—
An honourable member: Under.
or under. Another tunnel—good! I am pleased you raised that, because Brisbane is the most tunnelled city in the world, per head of population, by a long way. To put it in context, Brisbane has 21 kilometres of tunnels and Sydney, with five times the population, has 14 kilometres of tunnels. If you compare that with London, New York, Tokyo or anywhere, it is the most tunnelled city in the world.
The Courier Mailand there is a sticker that says, 'Is it true, or is it in The Courier Mail?' but on this occasion I will quote them—said that this tunnel will allow people to get home 15 minutes earlier; that is 15 minutes extra they will get at home. Isn't that wonderful! Well, those are their words, not mine. A few thousand people will get home 15 minutes early. That is what you get for the tunnel—a few thousand people getting home 15 minutes early! (Time expired)