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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1968


Mr CIOBO (MoncrieffParliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (16:39): It is quite extraordinary to stand in this debate on the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill 2013 and to have listened to the contributions from Labor members opposite on how debt was a problem under the coalition and how the Australian people needed to be vigilant and on guard, and how it was in the national interest for the Australian Labor Party to stand opposed to the deal that is being done between the coalition and the new economic centrists—certainly, relative to the Labor Party—the Greens! Members of the public up in the gallery were probably scratching their heads as they heard the Australian Labor Party start to lecture the Australian people on the dangers of debt. This is the Australian Labor Party! Let us not ever forget the track record of Labor, because if you had only tuned in to the last 10 minutes you would have thought: 'Well, they seem reasonable. The solution to debt is not more debt—that seems to be a reasonable comment to make.' And if you did not know that the Australian Labor Party was the party that presided over the most significant deterioration in Australia's debt position in our history, and if you did not know that the Australian Labor Party inherited $45 billion of net assets and turned that $45 billion into a mountain of over $400 billion worth of debt, you might think they had a skerrick of credibility. But, in a continuation of form for the Australian Labor Party, we know that they will say absolutely anything if it happens to suit their argument at any given point in time.

I heard the shadow parliamentary secretary turn around and make comments about how the coalition was being dragged to economic realism and I heard him start to criticise the coalition, saying that we promised there would be a surplus. Again, if I cast my mind back, it was only about six months ago that we heard the Australian Labor Party promise, on over 600 separate occasions, that they were going to deliver an economic surplus. We recall the way they completely bastardised the Australian company tax collection system when they turned around and said, 'We're going to change from quarterly PAYG to making sure that it is paid monthly.' Why did they do it? They did it for one reason and one reason alone: the Australian Labor Party did it because it was all part of their phoney campaign to try to get back to surplus. And after Prime Minister Rudd, and Prime Minister Gillard, and Prime Minister Rudd, and Treasurer Swan, and Treasurer Bowen, we saw the Australian Labor Party left in a situation where, after promising on over 600 occasions that they were going to deliver a budget surplus, they actually delivered a nearly $31 billion deficit.

The Australian people are not fools, I am pleased to say. They see straight through this lot opposite. And I am very pleased to stand on the track record of the coalition, time and time again, because our track record—and I say this for the benefit of the members opposite—is a good track record. We have paid down Labor's debt before and we will pay down Labor's debt again. And if that means that we have to take hard decisions, and if that means that we have to make responsible decisions, then the coalition will always step up to the plate. That is the reason the Australian people thoroughly rejected the Australian Labor Party at the last election. They rejected you because they know you will say and do anything, members of the Australian Labor Party. These kinds of silly games from the Australia Labor Party just underscore why the Australian people know that the cupboard is bare when it comes to genuine policy decision making.

So I say to the Australian Labor Party: get with the times. It is a bad strategy, Australian Labor Party, when you are outflanked in the centre ground by the Australian Greens. So if that does not send you a message, members of the Australian Labor Party, I do not know how on earth you are ever going to get the message. But I would say to you: the signs are there. You do not need a crystal ball to gaze in; you do not need to try to read the tea leaves. All the signs are there, members of the Australian Labor Party. The Australian electorate rejected you. You have got a mountain of debt of over $400 billion. And now you have the Australian Greens being the sensible centre. So read those cryptic clues and see what you can come up with. (Time expired)