Senate debates

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Bills

Income Tax Rates Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Reform) Bill 2016 (No. 2); In Committee

6:57 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

He did! At least he was more interesting than Senator Macdonald, who just chants my name. Senator Joyce—as he then was—was far more entertaining. But I was amused to see Mr Joyce's tweet praising the Greens, because I thought, 'Of all the people who voted for Senator Di Natale, Senator Hanson-Young, Senator Rice and Senator Siewert, I wonder how they'll feel about Mr Barnaby Joyce, who led the charge against action on climate change, against a price on carbon and, along with then Senator Minchin and his militia, against an emissions trading system.' Mr Joyce, who rails against renewable energy, who tells everyone how wonderful coal is, who does not believe that anything is happening to the Great Barrier Reef and whose position on a range of other social issues I would hazard a guess would not be shared by a single Greens voter. But, of course, politics does make for some strange bedfellows, and we have Senator Rice—who is in the chamber—and Mr Joyce on the same page. Well, it is up to the Greens to explain that to their constituency. I will have a bit more to say about that in my next contribution, but, first, I want come back to the budget position.

As I have said, for all their chest-beating and talk about budget deficits, the 2015-16 budget deficit is eight times bigger than that inherited by this government. Let us remember that. Net debt is increasing, gross debt is increasing, and we are seeing rising deficits compared with the trajectory that the secretaries of Treasury and Finance—not political operators, but the secretaries of Treasury and Finance—assessed in the 2013 PEFO. We have seen a tripling of the 2016-17 deficit and debt. Remember the debt? Remember how there was all this talk about intergenerational theft and all of these things? Well, net debt for this year has blown out, I think, by more than $100 billion.

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