Thursday, 13 February 2020
Statements by Members
The Treasurer is now sneaking away from his future budget surpluses blaming bushfires and coronavirus, but the truth is that the budget has always been propped up by dodgy assumptions. With productivity and workforce participation growth flaccid, he spent everything on his huge population growth target. How will this happen? Deep in the budget you discover that the Treasurer's surpluses rely on a big increase in migration and a magical bounce in Australia's fertility rate next year to an astounding level of 1.9 babies per woman. The problem, though, is that Australia's fertility rate actually fell last year to a record low of 1.74 babies per woman. The budget papers give no hint at what secret plans the Treasurer is hiding in his drawers to jack up the fertility rate, so I ask the Treasurer: what behavioural changes is the government expecting to see that would drive this bounce in fertility?
What policies or firm decrees does he have in his pocket? Are his government colleagues giving him a hand? Should innocent Australian families be worried that the government's 'big stick' might come into play? The government's budgetary con is exposed by last year's population plan, which admitted that fertility rates are falling. Australians are rightly confused. Are women expected to be more fertile or less in 2020? The government has been caught out like a shag on a rock. The Treasurer's budget forecasts can't be trusted. They are the product of his dreams, not rooted in reality.