Senate debates

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Questions without Notice


2:22 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Gallagher for that question. I think Senator Gallagher wanted to make sure that, before I left this chamber, I truly had seen everything. I now have, with the shadow minister for finance quoting the Institute of Public Affairs! That is exhibit A! The answer to that question is, no, I can't confirm that analysis. The Labor Party is trying to suggest that we can't make projections 10 years out, and Senator Gallagher is now suggesting that somehow there is a capacity to make projections 35 years out. The argument that the opposition is prosecuting right now is that we should spend more and that we should have a lower deficit and lower debt, as if that is totally consistent!

We are facing a very challenging set of figures. We are, though, in a better position than most other countries around the world as a result of the hard work that we've done during our first six years in government. The reason your figures weren't worse after six years of Labor government is because you started with a surplus, no government net debt and a positive net asset position. Guess what you left behind for us? You left us massive debt and deficit and a deteriorating trajectory. We have turned that situation around. We are in a better, stronger position than we would have been if we hadn't fixed the situation you left behind. Every reasonable Australian knows why we're here when it comes to the fiscal position we are in, and that is because of the COVID recession and the impact on the COVID recession on revenue, in particular, and government payments, and because of the cost of the decisions we've had to make to support the economy and to support jobs.


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