Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer confirm that last night, just hours after the budget was delivered, the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance and the Public Service had crisis talks about changing the budget? Doesn't this just confirm that after six years of cuts and chaos, the budget is a con job which is falling apart before our eyes?
Mr Speaker, what I can confirm to the House is last night we announced a budget surplus. That's right! A surplus that the Labor Party never dreamed of. As I was locked away yesterday, I understand the Prime Minister told the House that the last time the Labor Party delivered a surplus he had curly hair!
Curly, long hair. I can confirm to the House the last time the Labor Party delivered a surplus, I had a mullet! I had a mullet! It's long gone now. It's long gone, because God only created a few perfect heads and the rest he put hair on!
The reality is we have produced a budget surplus and we have provided assistance to those low-income earners, to those people on a disability support pension, to those people on an age pension, to those people on a carer payment, to those veterans, to ease their cost of living pressures and to help then meet the next energy bill. You can only do that with a strong economy—a strong economy that's growing from year to year, a strong economy that is stronger today than what we inherited. We have a strong economy that has created more than one million new jobs ahead of schedule, a strong economy that has seen the number of people of working age on welfare the lowest in 30 years, and a strong economy that sees a government with its spending growth the lowest of any government in 50 years. We have a strong economy that means last night we could announce a massive mental health package to treat youth suicide and the most vulnerable people in our society, to help with early psychosis treatment, to help with 30 new headspace centres, to break those waiting lists, to get support to Indigenous communities, with peer support that they need most. This will make a difference to people's lives. This will save lives. Putting more drugs on the PBS, putting more money into aged care, extending the Medicare Benefits Schedule so that people with breast cancer can get their diagnostic imaging through the Medicare Benefits Schedule—these are the measures that are the social dividend from a strong economy. We make no apologies for the fact that we have made the necessary decisions. We make no apologies for the fact that we have made the difficult decisions. We no make no apologies for the fact that we are creating a budget that is in surplus, the first surplus in more than a decade—something that the Labor Party could only dream of.