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Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Page: 233


Mr TURNBULL (Leader of the Opposition) (2:00 PM) —My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to his forecast of $70 billion in debt over the next four years. Can the Prime Minister explain to the House why his one-page legislation, rushed into the parliament in a panic this morning, allows his government to increase debt to $200 billion? What is the government holding back from the Australian people?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —In answer to the honourable member’s question: he will be familiar with a couple of facts. The first is a collapse in government revenues over two periods now. This was first announced at the time of MYEFO, where revenues collapsed at $40 billion. Since then, there has been a further collapse in revenues of $75 billion. Secondly, in terms of additional borrowing requirements for the government, there are, of course, the other costs, including enhanced social security payments, which flow from increased unemployment and other associated social security payments. So that is the second factor. The third factor goes to the actual cost of funding the Nation Building and Jobs Plan, which the government announced yesterday. If you aggregate the three measures that I have just referred to, it requires borrowing. I would challenge the Leader of the Opposition to identify in this chamber which individual measures, of all those referred to, he chooses not to support, because he knows, as everyone else knows, that in these economic circumstances they can only be financed by borrowing.