Monday, 21 October 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on his recent attendance at the annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF and the G20 finance ministers meeting? Will the Treasurer explain to the House how the Australian economy is performing compared to other G20 countries and the importance of our stable and certain approach on economic management? Is the Treasurer aware of any alternative policy approaches?
I thank the member for McKellar for his question and note the extensive experience in business that he brings to this place and his commitment to strong economic management. The meetings of the IMF, G20 and World Bank came at an important time for the global economy, as we are going through a synchronised slowdown, with the IMF downgrading the global forecast to three per cent for 2019. The mood at the meetings was serious but not panicked, as countries the world over are getting used to a world, an economy, with low interest rates, low inflation and relatively low unemployment.
But the trade tensions between China and the US hang over the global economy like a dark cloud, and the IMF has estimated that, if those tensions between China and the US are unresolved, they could lead to an up to 0.8 per cent reduction in global growth by 2020. But certainly the comments from both the Americans and Chinese at this meeting were more positive than we've heard before.
This meeting reinforced the need for Australia to continue to have considered, disciplined economic management—economic management that sees Australia in its 29th consecutive year of economic growth and with the first balanced budget in 11 years. Balanced budgets and surplus budgets help build the resilience of the Australian economy to external shocks, whenever they may occur.
I'm asked: are there any alternative approaches? We know that the Labor Party would take a sledgehammer to the Australian economy. We know they proposed $387 billion of higher taxes, which would be hitting Australians from 1 July this year. We know that they can't manage money, because even when iron ore had a price that was more than double of what it is today, they still couldn't deliver a surplus budget.
We know the unemployment rate was higher when Labor was in and the participation rate was lower than it is today. We know we shouldn't expect anything different from those opposite, when the member for Sydney said she's mystified by the term 'aspiration', when the member for Corio said Labor took to the last election 'handouts not hope', when the member for Rankin says the retiree tax and the housing tax are things that he is proud of and pleased with. No wonder former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating said the Labor today has lost the ability to speak to aspirational Australians and to formulate policies to meet those aspirations.