Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Matters of Public Importance


4:04 pm

Photo of Kerry O'BrienKerry O'Brien (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Frankly, millions of dollars of spending on schools is needed because Senator Williams’s side of politics, when in government, refused to do it. Millions and millions of dollars need to be spent in these areas. We will come back to your proposition about waste, Senator Williams. We have heard a lot of things being said in here and we have heard allegations that certain prices have been quoted that are somehow better than the quotes that have been accepted. Well, watch this space, because I can say that there is going to be an awful lot of egg on Senator Williams’s face when all the facts come out.

In terms of the proposition that Australia has unmanageable debt, we have a deficit of just 4.9 per cent of GDP, the lowest among the economies we are being compared to. The United States is at 13.6 per cent of GDP, Japan is at 9.9 per cent and the UK is at 9.8 per cent. If we are doing a bad thing then the rest of the world is about to go under, according to Senator Williams. We are talking about a government in this country which has a clear fiscal strategy to return the budget to surplus once the economy begins to recover. It allows for revenues to recover naturally. One of the main problems, as I said earlier, is that we face lost income of $210 billion. As the revenues recover, the ability of the economy to return to surplus is great. If we hold spending growth at two per cent per year until the budget returns to surplus, we will do it even quicker.


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