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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3515


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:56): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to this statement from the world's largest accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers:

The measures announced tonight confirm we are still on a slow moving fiscal cliff, imbalances appear to be chronic, and our standard of living is at risk.

Treasurer, if that is the view of the market and if it is the case, as it is, that you have every single number wrong in every budget, how can the Australian people believe anything you say?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:57): Absolutely dead wrong! The rating agencies, all three of them, that have given us a AAA-rating with a stable outlook all disagree with them. So the views of the ratings agencies apparently do not matter to the shadow Treasurer. That is pretty frightening, if he does not understand that—very frightening. He can go and find a report from a firm here or a firm there. But if you go through all of the judgements of the market economists that have been published in recent times, they give the budget a tick because it is good economics and it is good for the country.

Now, of course, we had the shadow Treasurer before, talking about the example of New Zealand. Well, there are just a couple of small differences between Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand went into recession! New Zealand boosted the GST at the end of 2010. That is their dream! Jack up the GST!

Opposition members interjecting

Mr SWAN: Unemployment in New Zealand has doubled since the global financial crisis. New Zealand is only four per cent bigger since before the global financial crisis. Australia is 13 per cent!

We have a plan. They have a plan for savage cuts to our economy—

Mr Hockey: Is that right? Name them!

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for North Sydney is warned.

Mr SWAN: They want to make it smaller. They want to make us more like New Zealand.