Monday, 11 September 2023
Questions without Notice
Thank you, President, and I note your generosity to the opposition in starting question time early. Senator Birmingham, I don't agree with the way in which the question's been put to me. Our relationship with the United States is deep and enduring. We have significant cooperation on space. In relation to this particular budget decision, the United States was advised ahead of time, as was appropriate. In terms of my engagement, this is obviously a budget decision. The senator has been a finance minister—
And I'm a member of the expenditure review committee. I was trying to allude to that, but I'm happy to explain it. We have had to make some tough choices, which is why this government has found budget savings to rein in the deficit, to tackle inflation. We've started the hard work to rebuild fiscal buffers. Unlike those opposite, we're actually delivering on that, as opposed to making sure we have mugs on our parliamentary desks saying 'Back in black'.
A gove rnment senator interjecting—
A lot of mugs over there, yes. But I would say to Senator Birmingham that I was pleased, at AUSMIN, to be part of further announcements in relation to space programs, with an announcement that was made with the Deputy Prime Minister, Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin at the Brisbane AUSMIN in July, which probably indicates our view about the relevance of this matter of space coordination to our relationship and to our ongoing cooperation across a range of fronts. (Time expired)