Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Questions without Notice
Economy, National Security
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on how the government's strong economic management is guaranteeing a safe and secure Australia; and what impact would weaker approaches to border security have on the budget?
I thank the member for Robertson for her question. She knows, as we know on this side of the House, that the first priority of government is to protect its people, and you can only protect your people when you have a strong economy to make the necessary investments. We have a strong economy, a stronger economy than the one we inherited—an economy that is growing at 2.8 per cent, compared to 2.1 per cent when Labor was last in government; unemployment at five per cent, the lowest in seven years, compared to 5.7 per cent when Labor was last in office; a AAA credit rating from the three leading credit ratings agencies, one of only 10 countries in the world to have so; and a budget that we will announce on 2 April that is coming back to surplus for the first time in over a decade.
Now, having a strong economy is allowing us to invest in national security—investing in our $200 billion Defence Industrial Capability Plan to bring defence spending to two per cent of GDP; investing in 12 new submarines, 12 offshore patrol vessels and nine frigates; and investing in equipping ASIO, the Federal Police and our enforcement agencies for the task ahead.
But I tell you what weakens a country's budget. It's the same thing that weakens a country's national security, and that is weak borders. Those opposite presided over 50,000 unauthorised arrivals, a budget blowout and the tragic loss of lives at sea. We've all seen that movie before, including the member for McMahon. And the member for McMahon was not watching that movie; he was the lead actor, because on his watch there were 25,000 unauthorised arrivals. On the member for McMahon's watch, there were 398 boats; on the member for McMahon's watch, there were six new detention centres opened; and, on the member for McMahon's watch, there was a $5.2 billion blowout because of weak border policy. That's money that could have helped build 360 schools. That is money that could have built 35 hospitals. That money was lost to the budget because of Labor's approach to border protection. It is said that those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it, and yesterday we saw in this House that the Labor Party have not learnt the lessons of history and, if given a chance in government, will certainly repeat their failures when they were last in office.