Thursday, 17 October 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. Was the IMF wrong to downgrade its forecast for Australia's economic growth by four times as much as advanced economies as a whole?
It's not up to the government to comment. Obviously the IMF makes its judgement based on its assessment of global economic trends and pressures on the global economy. Obviously it has made a judgement based on global trade tensions and geopolitical issues that everybody knows about, that a further downgrade in global growth was warranted, and has made some judgement on the flow-on consequences on various countries around the world.
Australia is a particularly globally exposed open-trading economy. Obviously what happens in the global economy is particularly relevant to us. The circumstance that is unique to Australia compared to others is that not only did we have to deal with a significant flood early in the year but we are also dealing with the economic impact of a significant drought in large parts of Australia. On our side of politics, we understand this. And we understand that it is important to stick to the plan to build a stronger economy into the future because that is the best way to ensure that Australians today and into the future have the best possible opportunity to get ahead—and that is what we're doing.
If we had adopted the Labor position that was taken to the last election, the economy today would be weaker and unemployment would be higher. In fact, very soon we'll be hearing from Senator Cash about the employment figures today, and what you can see is that, under our government, more new jobs are being created—more than 1.4 million jobs since we were first elected. Employment growth is at a record level. There is employment growth of 2.6 per cent compared to a forecast of 1.5 per cent. The number of Australians in jobs is at a record high, the number of women in jobs is at a record high, workforce participation is at a record high and real wages growth is higher than it was when Labor lost government and above the long-term trend.
The economy under the coalition is in a stronger position than it would have been under Labor. That is what— (Time expired)
Thank you, Mr President. There are nearly two million Australians looking for work or looking for more work. Why is the Morrison government failing to heed the advice of the RBA governor, the IMF, state and territory governments, charities and business and refusing to act to boost the Australian economy?
I completely reject the premise of the question. This government is acting to build a stronger economy. We delivered a pro-growth budget in April which included a further $158 billion in income tax relief, taking income relief over the next decade to more than $300 billion. That is putting $300 billion back into the pockets of hardworking Australians which they are able to spend or invest in the Australian economy as they see fit.
As the governor of the Reserve Bank has made very clear—and we agree with his assessment—the Australian economy is expected to gradually strengthen into the future on the back of lower interest rates, lower taxes, continued high investment in infrastructure and a pick-up in the resources sector. We will continue to stick to the plan. We are not going to get the Labor way, the high-taxing, high-spending, anti-business, socialist agenda way, because we know that your way would have made the Australian economy weaker—and the Australian people know so as well.
Thank you, Mr President. Under the coalition the unemployment rate in Australia has risen above the OECD average for the first time in nearly two decades. When will the Morrison government finally take action to boost the economy and protect jobs?
I mean, the chutzpah for the Labor Party to ask the question! When we came into government, one of the terrible indicators was the rising unemployment rate. The outgoing shadow Treasurer of the Labor Party, Chris Bowen, was so concerned about what they had left behind that he said the test for the incoming coalition government was whether we can keep the unemployment rate below 6¼ per cent. I don't think he would have said that in order to give us an easy key performance indicator. I think he thought that it might have been a stretched target to try to keep the unemployment rate below 6¼ per cent. Guess what? It's at 5.2 per cent today and 1.4 million new jobs have been created under our government. Your high-taxing and high-spending agenda would have made the economy weaker and pushed up the unemployment rate, which would have caused wages to fall over time. The Australian people at the election clearly considered the alternative agendas and they knew that they were better off with our plan to build a stronger economy than with your socialist agenda.