House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013

Questions without Notice


2:55 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Hindmarsh, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. How have Australia's economic strengths helped us come through the worst global economic conditions in 80 years? How will investments in education, jobs and national savings make Australia a smarter, fairer and stronger country in the future?

2:56 pm

Photo of Wayne SwanWayne Swan (Lilley, Australian Labor Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Hindmarsh for that question, because over the past five years the Australian economy has outperformed most other developed economies. We did not go into recession and we have not experienced the very high levels of unemployment and the destruction of businesses that we have seen in so many other developed economies.

When the going got tough, we put jobs and growth first. We had the courage to take the big decisions to support our economy. The consequence of that is that the economy is 14 per cent larger than it was at the end of 2007 and eight per cent larger in the last three years alone. The consequence of that is almost one million additional jobs created, 500,000 of those jobs in the last three years alone. That is a record that everyone on this side of the House is very proud of. And it is a record that is envied right around the world.

Because we have the strength, because we have this resilience, we are up for making the big investments for the future, in particular the investments in education which are key to future prosperity. We want to see our school system in the top five internationally by 2025. To do that, we have to get rid of a broken funding model, and that is why we are putting in place a funding model which puts our schoolkids first and politics last, unlike those in opposition. We are also making the very big investments in superannuation: building a national superannuation savings pool, increasing the superannuation guarantee from nine per cent to 12 per cent. That will add half a trillion dollars to our national savings by 2037. If you are a 30-year-old electrician on an average sparky's wages you will end up with $124,000 more when you retire at 67.

When you look at what we are doing with the funding of education, the school improvement program; if you look at what we are doing in terms of strengthening our superannuation, making sure people have enough resources to have dignity in retirement—all of these reforms are opposed by those opposite. They made it very clear before in the interjection of the shadow Treasurer that, had they been in power over the last five years or indeed the last three years, they would have taken an axe to public expenditure, which would have pushed unemployment through the roof and we would have seen the destruction of our social safety net. That proposition was put forward by the shadow Treasurer before, and that is the reason why they will not put forward any funded or costed policies.

They have had five years to put forward accurate, costed policies, and in those five years we have not seen one. What we saw was their $11 billion hole in the last election. We on this side of the House will build the nation, make the investments for the future. Those on that side of the House will impose European austerity policies which will push up unemployment and rip up the social safety net.