House debates

Wednesday, 3 July 2024

Questions without Notice


2:07 pm

Photo of Angus TaylorAngus Taylor (Hume, Liberal Party, Shadow Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. After three failed budgets, the Prime Minister has failed to tackle and beat inflation. Respected economist Chris Richardson has said: 'Governments have abandoned the field in the inflation fight. We are fighting the inflation fight one-handed,' and, 'Mortgage relief is a very, very long way away.' When will the Prime Minister admit his $315 billion spending spree is driving homegrown inflation and threatening further interest rate increases into the future?

Hon. Members:

Honourable members interjecting

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! The Treasurer will just wait before he stands, before I call him.

Order! Member for Hume, you've asked your question. You have the MPI today. You've had a lot of latitude this week. We're going to make sure everyone is following the rules. The Treasurer has the call.

2:08 pm

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

Once again, as the Prime Minister said a moment ago, if the shadow Treasurer thinks there is $315 billion too much spending in the budget he should come clean to the pensioners and veterans and people who rely on Medicare in this country and tell them exactly how he's going to cut $315 billion of spending from the budget. If he's angry about inflation which is running in quarterly terms at 3.6 per cent he must have been absolutely furious with the 6.1 per cent he left us when he stopped being one of the most embarrassing parts of the worst performing government since Federation.

When inflation had a six in front of it and was on the way up, when interest rates were already rising, they delivered a budget which had a net policy spend of nearly $40 billion, which is nearly double what our budget did. They forecast two deficits, which we are turning into two Labor surpluses. In two years alone, a $165 billion turnaround in the budget. That is historic, a total of $215 billion. We've banked the vast majority of revenue upgrades. They used to spend most of it. We found almost $80 billion in savings in the budget. Their last budget had precisely zero dollars in savings.

The point I'm making here, with this avalanche of damning facts about their record in office, is that they wouldn't know the first thing about responsible economic management. The shadow Treasurer wouldn't know responsible economic management if it slapped him in the face, and their record speaks for itself. As the Prime Minister rightly pointed out a moment ago, when we came to office there were deficits as far as the eye could see. There was $1 trillion in Liberal Party debt and almost nothing to show for it, and the budget was being consumed by the interest costs on that debt.

We have been working in a considered, methodical and responsible way to clean up the mess that we inherited from those opposite. We've seen inflation moderate substantially since they were in office, but not enough. It needs to moderate further and faster, and we know, from the comments from the Reserve Bank governor and Reserve Bank deputy governor, that the sorts of things that we are doing are helping in the fight against inflation—primarily, turning your two big Liberal deficits into two Labor surpluses. The Governor of the Reserve Bank has said that is helpful in the fight against inflation.

The last point that I would make—but I hope I get many more questions about this—is, if those opposite really cared about the cost-of-living pressures people are under, they wouldn't be opposing the cost-of-living relief which is rolling out this week.