Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer advise the House of the importance of a stronger budget at this delicate time in our transitioning economy? How is the government ensuring that good policy supports a balanced budget?
I thank the member for Canning for his question and his strong support for a stronger budget, which means stronger growth in our economy, more jobs, more investment in our economy and higher real wages for Australians. The government have been curbing growth in spending since we were elected in 2013. We have been curbing as a result the growth in the level of debt to ensure that we can go forward with a budget that is sustainable, secure and free of the excesses of spending growth that were characteristic of the previous government. Growth in real terms approached well over six per cent under the previous government's watch.
At the election we set out $40 billion worth of budget improvement measures. We were very upfront about it, whether they were measures on expenditure control or revenue measures, particularly in the area of superannuation. We were totally upfront with the Australian people about the $40 billion in budget improvement measures that we were seeking to put in place to ensure that the budget remained on a trajectory to balance in 2021, given the current parameter estimates.
We have been successful so far in the short period of time during this term of securing around $11 billion—that is more than a quarter of the budget improvement measures already moving through the parliament. It is imperative that we continue down that path of realising both the expenditure and revenue measures, which are overwhelmingly opposed by those opposite, whose only answer to any of these issues is to raise taxes rather than control spending.
There is another area which is really important. You need to deal proactively with pressures that come on the budget. The previous government know what happens when you lose control of a particular policy area and it then starts to hit your budget. When those opposite were in government more than 50,000 people turned up on 800 boats and 1,200 died. If that was not bad enough, under their incompetent management of their borders the budget blew out by some $11 billion. I am proud to have been the minister, as a team with the former Prime Minister, who was able to stop the boats. On stopping the boats—
Opposition members interjecting—
They call it a gesture; I call it a fact because that is what those on this side of the House have been able to deliver. I am proud to be part of a government, led by this Prime Minister and with this Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, which is continuing measures and putting in place measures like those now before this parliament that will ensure we will never see the tragedy that those opposite authored while they were in government. That tragedy was inflicted on human lives and was inflicted on the budget of this country. Those opposite sent out the shadow Treasurer this morning to be their poster boy for border protection. A close look at his record reveals that he is as good on border protection as he is on managing a budget.