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- Start of Business
- MINISTERIAL ARRANGEMENTS
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Hull, Kay, MP, Macklin, Jenny, MP)
Medicare Levy Surcharge
(Saffin, Janelle, MP, Roxon, Nicola, MP)
(Marino, Nola, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Adams, Dick, MP, Tanner, Lindsay, MP)
(Turnbull, Malcolm, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Burke, Anna, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
- Age Pension
- URGENT RELIEF FOR SINGLE AGE PENSIONERS LEGISLATION
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS TO THE SPEAKER
- AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORTS
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- URGENT RELIEF FOR SINGLE AGE PENSIONERS BILL 2008
- AUSTRALIAN ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION AUTHORITY BILL 2008
- SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS (EQUAL TREATMENT IN COMMONWEALTH LAWS—GENERAL LAW REFORM) BILL 2008
- Member for Richmond
- Australian Football League: Grand Final
- Cowan Electorate: Warwick Greenwood Junior Football Club
- Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters
- Swan Electorate: Mental Health Care
- Focal Extended Inc.
- Member for Richmond
- Gippsland Electorate: Education
Beijing Olympic Games
Beijing Paralympic Games
Mr Peter Leek
- Dickson Electorate: Community Spirit
- Pensions and Benefits
- Polio Awareness Month
- Stirling Electorate: Beaches
- National Youth Leadership Forum
- Royalties for Regions
- Petrie Electorate: Relay for Life
- AUSLINK (NATIONAL LAND TRANSPORT) AMENDMENT BILL 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Mr HALE (2:05 PM) —My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. Why is a strong budget surplus critical for Australia during this period of global economic uncertainty?
Ms GILLARD (Acting Prime Minister) —I thank the member for Solomon for his question. Of course the challenges this nation faces are great. We face, with the rest of the world, the challenge of tackling climate change. We face the issue of raising our rate of productivity growth. We know that this nation is languishing when it comes to productivity growth—and today’s productivity growth is tomorrow’s prosperity. We need to be investing in education. We need to be ensuring we have more productive workplaces. Not only is today’s productivity growth tomorrow’s prosperity, but of course the challenges for tomorrow’s prosperity are major with the ageing of the population and with the forecasted changes in the dependency ratio that that implies.
When the election was held in November 2007, the government went to the people with a practical program of action about these great challenges. In climate change, it included re-engaging with the rest of the world by ratifying Kyoto and introducing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme as well as measures to enhance the development of new technology—renewable technology and solar technology. We went to the Australian people to seek a mandate for our productivity-enhancing measures. Those measures include our education revolution—investing in education from the education of our youngest children through schools, through addressing the skills crisis and through our universities. Our productivity-lifting measures include our fair and balanced workplaces.
Since the government was elected, circumstances on global financial markets have caused anxiety right around the world. We know that those circumstances are reshaping the international economic landscape. We know that in the last very short period of time we have seen major measures that have caused huge problems in global financial markets. We have seen some of the world’s largest—
Mr Tuckey —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The fact that the Acting Prime Minister is reading a speech means it should be a ministerial statement. It is costing us a fortune—
The SPEAKER —The member for O’Connor will resume his seat. There is no point of order.
Ms GILLARD —I fear that my intervention yesterday has moved the member for O’Connor back into the main chamber, and for that I apologise to the House. That was most certainly not my intention.
Events are being reshaped by the global credit crisis. We have seen some of the world’s leading financial institutions face either the end of their business or a landscape of dramatic change. We have seen the US government invest $700 billion in mortgage related assets for these companies in a buy-up plan. We have seen financial regulators around the world move to address the problem of short selling, which would increase volatility in financial markets in this very difficult period. And we have seen central banks around the world move to address the liquidity crisis and to inject more liquidity into financial markets.
In these uncertain times around the globe, the last thing we can afford in this country is uncertainty around the delivery of the government’s budget. The budget was designed for the times. It was designed with a surplus to give us the buffer we need in difficult circumstances. The fact that it was so designed and provides such a buffer is endorsed by the IMF in its recent report, which stated that prudent fiscal policies and flexible exchange rates provide Australia with ‘important buffers against any substantial weakening in the external environment’. In these uncertain global economic times we need budget certainty, and that is why the actions of the Liberal Party in the Senate are so damaging. They would be damaging in ordinary times. They would be economic vandalism in ordinary times. But in these times of uncertainty they are the height of irresponsibility.
We understand that the Senate plays a role as a house of review, where they look at and scrutinise legislation. That is the proper role of the Senate and we understand that. But what is happening in the Senate, courtesy of the Liberal Party, is not that proper role of review; it is obstruction pure and simple, designed to take $6.2 billion out of the budget surplus and to create uncertainty in these uncertain times.
I say to the newly elected Leader of the Opposition that he has an opportunity to create a break with the past. Instead of endorsing the irresponsibility adopted by the Liberal Party immediately after the May budget, he has an opportunity to actually engage in a responsible economic strategy and to make sure the budget can be delivered. We continue to call upon him to do so. He can prove that he is not an economic vandal by responding to those calls.
Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I would ask the Acting Prime Minister to table the five-page copious document from which she has been quoting.
The SPEAKER —Was the Acting Prime Minister quoting from a document?
Ms GILLARD —Yes.
The SPEAKER —Was the document confidential?
Ms GILLARD —Yes.