Senate debates

Friday, 22 June 2012


Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012; Second Reading

2:11 pm

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (Queensland, National Party, Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

As I continue on from the remarks of Senator Fifield on the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2012, it is interesting to note that, as we speak, our debt has just gone up by another $2.4 billion. 'That's not a problem! That's not a bad day in the office, that one, is it! We don't care anymore! It doesn't matter.' It's all out of control, isn't it? They just do not care. Let us just work that out. About $300,000 would be a fair price for a house in a regional town. I imagine Senator Whish-Wilson would probably think that was around the money. That is 8,000 houses. We have just borrowed the money for 8,000 houses. The census tells us that there are about 2.3 people per house these days, so that is houses for about 18,400 people—a town or suburb. The government have just borrowed that. You people in the public gallery are going to pay it back. It is just out of control.

This is all about the financial framework. Any other business would start to tell you that that is a real problem. When you have got debts in excess of $233 billion, they would start to say that that is a bit of a problem. All we get from this government is that we are not as bad as Greece or Spain or Portugal. That is like walking around the graveyard and saying, 'That one is more dead than that one.' It does not matter anymore; it is just a figure. We keep on going down this path because the government have just got no competency whatsoever in financial management—none.

This is to do with superannuation. The Commonwealth superannuation liability, as we speak, is $139 billion. If the government use all the money in the Future Fund—they have got about $77 billion in the Future Fund—there will still be this massive discrepancy of unfunded superannuation liability. That is not added to the debt. That is not part of the $233 billion. That is on top of it. If any individual or any corporation did that, you would go to court. The government do not bother funding their superannuation liability. The only way you can fund your superannuation liability is to get a surplus, but they have not been getting surpluses; they have been getting deficits. The public superannuants around this town, Canberra, and other towns have a figure on a piece of paper saying what they are owed in super, but the government does not have the money in the bank to pay it.

While there is all the anarchy and madness that we see in the front of this government—the Mr Slippers, the Mr Thomsons, the getting rid of an elected Prime Minister and replacing him with another one, the being about to get rid of that one and replace her with another one—what is happening in the background is that the place is completely out of control as well and the finances are completely out of control. So, in talking about the financial framework that pertains to superannuation, we have to acknowledge the financial problems that this nation is getting itself into every week—and all we get are these oblique remarks. One of the ways that they are going to get money in the future is through the carbon tax. This is what they do when they run out of money. First of all what they do is create moral outrage and say, 'Outrage! You must feel guilt. You must assuage your guilt.' And how do you assuage your guilt? 'Well, you accept my premise for how we are going to cool the planet.' How they going to cool the planet? With a tax. It is so bleedingly obvious. That is how you cool the planet: with a tax! Didn't we all notice when they brought in the GST that the place got colder? But, of course, the tax had no effect whatsoever.

Why this is interesting and pertinent today is that, in this rolling fiasco of this circus of madness, today they have appointed to the Climate Change Authority, as one of the people who will instruct the minister to jack up the tax, a very interesting gentleman, a bloke by the name of Clive Hamilton. Clive Hamilton is going to be one of the instructors to the minister, to tell them to put up their tax. This Clive Hamilton has come up with some interesting things lately. One of the things that he has said is that he believes at times that we have to dispense with democracy, because it gets in the way; that you have got a greater moral duty at times just to dispense with democracy. It is an interesting person for a democracy to appoint: a person who believes that you can dispense with democracy. He also believes that at times it is morally right to break the law for the sake of fighting the climate. And he is the one who will be making the recommendation to the minister to 'take your tax up' from what it would initially be—$23 a tonne. It is completely and utterly insane and way beyond where any other nation is at. It is an insane tax. You should not have it at all. He is the one that will make the recommendation that 'to fight the climate, to fight the frost and to fight the fog we must increase it'. Of course, even in their own modelling they talk about taking it up to $131 a tonne. So a man who does not believe in democracy and a man who postulates that it is all right to break the law is probably going to be the same one who is going to start talking about jacking the tax up—to the point where whatever is left in the way of an economy will be quickly put out.

So here we are, as I speak, seeing that as Friday comes around $2.4 billion extra is borrowed. We could build the Toowoomba range crossing with less than that. We could build more inland rail with less than that—and that is just a week. There are so many things that we could do with that money. There are a lot of people out there. Think of the things that we could do for pensioners with that money, think of the things that we could do with the Defence Force with that money, think of the roads that we could fix with that money. People would crawl over broken glass to be able to get their hands on a budget like that given the things that they could do with it. But that money is just going out the back door at this point in time because they cannot make their expenditures match their revenues and so they borrow the difference week after week after week. So week after week, as we make our way merrily through the third debt ceiling and start heading our way to the fourth debt ceiling, we end up with a bigger debt than our nation has ever had in its history!

Take Queensland under the stewardship of the Labor Party. We now know after the latest audit, by the former Treasurer of Australia, Mr Costello, that he found that the Labor Party had basically misrepresented where our debt had got to and that in Queensland it was going to head to over $100 billion. Per capita the debt in Greece is about $40,000 per person. Now in Queensland it is in excess of $30,000 per person. And they say it is not a problem, there is nothing to worry about and there is nothing to see here! But it has all got to be paid back. We see New South Wales heading up to in excess of $70 billion in gross debt. South Australia have lost their credit rating. Queensland, by reason of the Labor Party, are going to get downgraded again. But it is not a problem and there is nothing to worry about!

That massive unfunded superannuation liability, in excess of about $62 billion as we speak, is nothing to worry about. It is all fine—all under control!

We do not know what is happening. We know, basically, that the Prime Minister no longer has the confidence of her caucus, that she does not have the numbers and that they are going to go back to Rudd. And they are arguing now about who the Treasurer is going to be—whether it is Shorten or Bowen. They cannot make up their minds.


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