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Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Page: 9973


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (21:13): I make one further point on my proposed amendment to the Parliamentary Service Amendment (Parliamentary Budget Officer) Bill 2011. I think this point will be particularly interesting for the Independents and the Greens. The government's PBO forecasts will not be those of Treasury. They will, in fact, be those of the Treasurer.

Under section 64E(3) of the PBO bill, it is stated that the Charter of Budget Honesty Act schedule 1 provisions will apply. Those schedule 1 provisions identify that the budget economic and fiscal statements and the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook are actually documents that belong to the government—the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation—not, in fact, the Treasury. So the Parliamentary Budget Office is going to be so independent of the government that it is going to have the Treasurer's forecast—not even the Treasury's but the Treasurer's! They are the only forecasts and fiscal outlooks that are acceptable to the Parliamentary Budget Office. If there could be a single symbol of how flawed this parliamentary budget office bill is, look no further than the fact that the Treasurer has pulled the wool over the eyes of the Independents and the Greens by actually putting in place a requirement that the only economic data that can be used by the Parliamentary Budget Office is the data that comes from the Treasurer—not from the Treasury, which the government is keen to hide behind, but the Treasurer.

I wonder about the member for Fraser over there. How do you feel about that? The only economic forecasts that the PBO can rely on are the Treasurer's forecasts, not the Treasury's. So much for damn independence. What a joke! Independence of the PBO? What a joke! Under this bill the only economic data they can use is that provided by the Treasurer—not the Treasury but the Treasurer.