Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister stand by his statement that working families in Australia have never been better off, given that, according to the Urban Development Institute of Australia, 76 per cent of houses in the Tweed were affordable in 2001 but by 2006 the figure had dropped to just 15 per cent?
I will take those particular figures on notice and have a look. But what I do stand by, in more general response, is what I said earlier in question time—that, although not every Australian family has benefited to the full from the economic bounty of current times, if you look at the general measures there is no doubt that there is a higher level of prosperity now than there has been at any time over the last 30 years. You cannot deny the fact that unemployment is at a 33-year low. You cannot deny the fact that real wages have increased by 20.8 per cent over the last 13 years. You cannot deny the fact that interest rates now, even after today’s increase, are at a lower level than they were at any time under the former government. You cannot deny the fact that, under the 13 years of Hawke and Keating, interest rates for housing averaged 12¾ per cent. Even after today’s rise, which will take them to 8.3 per cent, they are still a full 4½ percentage points lower than the average under 13 years of Labor. These are indisputable facts. I will have a look at the Richmond figures—I have my doubts, but I will have a look at them—but the indisputable facts are as I have described them.