Thursday, 28 October 2010
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the statement this morning by the member for Deakin, who said, ‘What it really comes down to is getting more banks into our system and customers knowing where they have an alternative to go to.’ Prime Minister, when will the government come on board with the coalition and stand up to the banks on price signalling?
I thank the member for his question. I think it is his first question, so I congratulate him on that. Unfortunately, what I am going to have to say to the member is that I am not in a position to endorse the shadow Treasurer’s four-point plan. I know the shadow Treasurer has made a series of statements since, but the original statements of the shadow Treasurer which defined this debate were in four points. Point 1 was that he was going to reregulate interest rates. I am not able to agree with that. In point 2 he somewhat bizarrely suggested we should remove our $16 billion investment in AAA rated residential mortgage backed securities. We were not in a position to agree with that. Thirdly, he somewhat oddly suggested we remove the deposit guarantee. No, we were not in a position to deal with that. And, finally, he said we should effectively go to the G20 and get a worse deal for Australia through global reform.
I know since the original four-point plan the shadow Treasurer has been in full backflip, retreat, backdown mode and he keeps snatching other people’s ideas, like those of Graeme Samuel from the ACCC, to try to cover his embarrassment—
Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Prime Minister was asked a very simple question on price signalling, which she has yet to mention. I would ask you to make her give an answer that is directly relevant to the question about price signalling.
I was asked about the opposition’s banking plan. Its foundation stone as originally articulated by the shadow Treasurer was reregulating interest rates. No, I regret to say to the new member for Bennelong, we will not be doing that, because to do that would mean we were turning our backs on 30 years of economic reform. To do that would mean we would be accepting a situation where young couples and small businesses could not get loans. That was the legacy of regulated interest rates, which is why this nation took a step into the modern world and started building the modern economy that we have today—a modern economy that can be secured in the future only by further economic reform. I regret to say to the new member for Bennelong that, unfortunately, the shadow Treasurer is going back 30 years in time. We will not be joining him in a strategy destined to impoverish this nation.