Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Berowra for his question. I note, in relation to the previous question asked by the Acting Leader of the Opposition, those opposite supported all the cuts to foreign aid that we put to the last election. They supported them all. And here they come, hypocritically in this House, making criticisms, the same thing they did about the pension asset test changes: opposed them before the election, and then had to agree to them at the election—hypocrisy writ large.
I am asked about the transitioning economy and how we are managing that. Well, at 3.3 per cent through-the-year growth—that is how this side of the House is managing the transition of our economy from the mining investment boom. Not only is there a 3.3 per cent through-the-year growth, which is the envy of the advanced world when it comes to economic growth today; in addition to that, 200,000 jobs have been created over the course of the last year. So it is not surprising that today the Westpac-Melbourne Institute index confirmed once again that there are more optimists about the Australian economy than there are pessimists.
A government member: Not on the other side!
The optimists are on this side. And the pessimists, who do not believe in growth, only believe in growth when and if—and there is a qualification—it is on their terms. On this side of the House, we believe in stronger growth. We believe in more jobs. We took to the election a plan to achieve that, and over the last 12 months that is exactly what we have been delivering. Confidence in the economy is up eight per cent on a year ago. We also saw yesterday the increase in business confidence, because Australians know that this government, the Turnbull government, has a plan to drive the economy forward.
I am asked about debt and what to do about the deficit. We need to arrest the debt and we need to break the curse of Labor's debt that was inflicted on this side of the House as we came to government. The way we do that is by bringing the budget back to balance and by getting expenditure under control. There are $40 billion worth of budget improvement measures before this parliament now and in the months ahead. That is what we are doing to improve the budget. I welcome the fact that the opposition have agreed with $6.3 billion of those and I welcome the fact that on tobacco excise more than one quarter of this government's—the Turnbull government's—budget improvement measures have been passed and will be passed this week in the parliament. What that shows is that the Turnbull government is getting the job done in the 45th Parliament. We are getting the job done, we are improving the budget, we are restoring the budget to surplus, we are arresting the debt and we are breaking the curse of Labor's debt that they imposed on the Australian people.
Ms Burney interjecting—