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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6727


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (14:21): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline the importance of careful and responsible management of the budget, and how does the recent budget help build for the future?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:21): I thank the honourable member for Bennelong for the question. Like a previous member for Bennelong, he is very concerned about the sustainability of the budget. It is hugely important that we make sure that we live within our means as a government so that the decisions that are made tomorrow are not punitive for those most vulnerable. Our latest legacy of $667 billion of debt and budgets where there are no surpluses means that Australians are currently spending $1 billion a month on interest, with 70 per cent of it going overseas—and it is going to $3 billion. Of course, you have to be straight with the Australian people in dealing with this. You have to be honest with the Australian people in dealing with this, and we are being honest with the Australian people.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HOCKEY: Honesty comes as a great surprise to members of the Labor Party because, of course, they did say they were going to have four years of surplus. They continue to delude themselves that in fact the budget is fine; but, in fact, the member for Lilley himself, in a confession to still existing Senator Carr, apparently, said the budget situation is 'ruinous'. So there is a bit of hypocrisy there.

There is a bit of hypocrisy from the Leader of the Opposition. If you came into this parliament today, you would think he was really concerned about the impacts of decisions on pensioners. But do you know what? It was about two years ago that he sidled up to me—just over there—and he begged me to help him to take 60,000 women off a single parents pension and put them on Newstart. Do you remember that, with the member for Jagajaga over there, because of the divisions in the Labor Party? Remember that: taking 60,000 single-income parents off a single parents pension? He knew about the divisions in the Labor Party. And then there were all these crocodile tears when they went into opposition—crocodile tears for single parents, crocodile tears from Labor, crocodile tears from the Leader of the Opposition.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HOCKEY: Oh yes, I got it wrong! He was the architect of it, with the member for Jagajaga. So the hypocrisy of the Labor Party is just a little bit overwhelming. They cry crocodile tears now about the fate of pensioners, yet when they were in government they did not hesitate to take people off a single parents pension and put them onto Newstart. Well, spare us the moment. We are the best friend Australian pensioners have ever had. We are their best friends, because we want the pension to be sustainable. We want it to be affordable. We want the pensioners of Australia to get a fair deal from the government, not just today but tomorrow. We will not cop the hypocrisy of this hypocrite! (Time expired)

Mr Albanese: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am surprised that you would not just automatically call upon that to be withdrawn. You have done that many times in the past.

The SPEAKER: What was it that I have done in the past?

Mr Albanese: I think you are aware of what it was, Madam Speaker. I am not going to bring the parliament down by repeating it. He should withdraw.

The SPEAKER: With the noise going on on my left, I have to say it is amazing anyone heard anything, including the answer. If there was something that was said that was untoward and the member feels that it would be in the interests of the parliament to withdraw, I would ask the minister to withdraw.

Mr Hockey: I assume, Madam Speaker, it is me defining him as a hypocrite. I withdraw.

Mr Bowen interjecting

The SPEAKER: If the word 'hypocrite' was used then that should be withdrawn, but so should the member for McMahon also withdraw his use of the word.

Mr Bowen: I withdraw.

The SPEAKER: Thank you. We will have a question from the Leader of the Opposition and we will have some silence for both the question and the answer.