Monday, 9 September 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister outline to the House how the government is getting on with the job of providing stability and certainty for Australian people during a time of increased global complexity and challenge?
The member for Lindsay is right: it is a time of increasing complexity and there are challenging times for Australia. That's why, when we sat down and prepared this year's budget, we prepared the budget to address these circumstances. It was a budget that came together to do a series of things but, most importantly, to provide the certainty and stability in economic leadership that Australians needed. Australians agreed. Australians endorsed that plan. They endorsed the re-election of the government and they rejected yet another Labor experiment of tax and spend. Instead, they chose a government that was delivering a budget surplus—a financial management record which will enable this government to pay down debt. Fifty billion dollars in net debt will be paid off over the next four years from its height in 2018-19. That is paying down debt. When we came to government, gross debt was growing at 30 per cent per year under the policies of the Labor Party. We wrangled that in, and we are now paying down debt as a government.
The Australian people voted for lower taxes. They voted for keeping more of what they earned and they backed our plan to do that. The Labor Party wanted to put more taxes and higher taxes on the Australian economy. Chairman Swanny is telling them to stick to their high-taxing, high-spending approach. The only realm of consistency you can find in the Labor Party at the moment is that they want to tax a lot and spend a lot. They are the policies of the Labor Party.
We increased infrastructure spending by around $25 billion in the last budget. That includes the funding that we're putting into the growth of Western Sydney infrastructure—in particular, the development of the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, which I know is providing a jobs boom for Western Sydney. The member for Lindsay is very aware of that.
We are investing in skills, expanding our export markets, backing all of our industries, including our resource industries, while the resource industry members of the Labor Party walked away every day from their resource industries in their own seats.
The Australian people voted for sensible emissions reduction policies that can be met by this government and are being met by this government. They voted for the stability of keeping Australians safe and keeping our borders secure, as opposed to the flips and flops, the chaos and uncertainty which Labor continues to present to this day.
As a result of our budget management, bulk-billing is now at a record level under this government. Funding for the PBS, funding for hospitals, funding for schools are all guaranteed by strong economic management and the stability and certainty of my government.
I can confirm to the House that, when it comes to nominal GDP, it is growing above the budget forecast, at 5.3 per cent. The budget forecast was five per cent. The reality is we on this side of the House stand for lower taxes and we have passed through the parliament the most significant tax cuts in more than two decades. And you know who opposed those tax cuts? It was the member for Rankin, because he likes to take taxes up.
Dr Chalmers interjecting—
The question involved no preamble. The question was very specific, and while answers, you've said before, are entitled to a preamble, this one is so far away from the question that was asked, I'd ask you to direct him back.
I don't think any of those interjecting on either side are helping either the Manager of Opposition Business or the Leader of the House. I just say to the Leader of the House: that is a reasonable point that he made except for one thing, and that is the material needs to be related to the question. At this point I'm listening closely to the Treasurer. He's moved onto the topic of tax and, as I've said on many occasions, it needs to be related to the question. The Treasurer has the call.
For the member for Rankin's information, on year average terms, the economy grew 1.9 per cent for 2018-19. The budget forecast was 2.25 per cent. When it comes to nominal GDP, the economy grew by 5.3 per cent and the budget forecast was five per cent.
Ms Butler interjecting—
As the member for Rankin should know as the understudy to the former member for Lilley, Wayne Swan, the nominal GDP numbers drive the budget outcomes. We will bring the budget back into surplus for the first time in more than a decade. You can strengthen the Australian economy by creating more jobs, by seeing the proportion of working-age Australians who are on welfare at its lowest level in 30 years and by cutting taxes, which we have done against the will of those opposite.