Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer inform the House how the Morrison government is on the side of all Australians by returning the budget to surplus and getting more people into work? Is the Treasurer aware of any alternative policies?
I want to congratulate the member for Longman, because in his first speech today he talked about owning a couple of golf shop franchises, and his first speech was a hole in one! It was a brilliant speech about his personal experiences, his ideals and what he wants to do for the people of Longman, and his first speech explained why Longman went from being on that side of the House to being on this side of the House.
The member for Longman knows that the fundamentals of the Australian economy are strong and that Australia is in its 28th consecutive year of economic growth. As the Governor of the RBA has reminded us, the foundations of the Australian economy are strong. We have a AAA credit rating. We have had 17 consecutive months of trade surpluses and we will be delivering a budget surplus for the first time in more than a decade. We have done that by responsible and targeted spending.
The rate of spending growth is around half of what we inherited. There are more people in jobs and fewer people on welfare, and the proportion of working-age Australians on welfare is around the lowest level in 30 years. We inherited from those opposite $240 billion of accumulated deficits, an unemployment rate which was at 5.7 per cent, an employment growth rate of only 0.7 per cent and a gender pay gap at 17.2 per cent. On all indicators, we have strengthened the economy. It's a strong economy because we're on the side of hardworking Australians, and a strong economy allows us to deliver tax cuts for more than 13 million Australians.
We know that those opposite, and the Leader of the Opposition, have had every position under the sun. He was against the tax cuts, then he was for the tax cuts; he wanted to change the name of the bill, then he wanted to wait for those in the upper house. But I tell you what, today we got the real explanation in The Australian newspaper when he was explaining his position on tax cuts. Wait for it—he said, 'We will agree with measures we disagree with. This is exactly what happened with the tax cuts.'
The reality is that the Leader of the Opposition doesn't know whose side he's on. We, on this side of the House, are always on the side of hardworking Australians because we want Australians to earn more and to keep more of what they earn.