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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13179


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (16:46): I have a few points to make following the intervention by the member for Lyne. I am almost in agreement with him: the fiscal environment—that is, the government's budget—is meant to be in good shape. However, while the member for Lyne was briefed on the mining tax and therefore may have a better understanding than any of us have about just how much revenue the mining tax is actually raising, I suspect that it will raise hardly a dollar—though I would be happy to facilitate the member for Lyne's disclosing to the House how much money the government thinks it is going to make from the mining tax. I also suspect that the fiscal environment is quite poor, because the government, whilst it is promising a surplus, is failing to deliver one. When the government runs out of money, it turns to new taxes and on-the-run expenditure cuts, and that is when you see the true state of the underlying structural deficit.

It is amazing, isn't it, that as soon as the member for Lyne gets to his feet—whooshka!—next to him rushes the Leader of the House ready to be in his ear: 'Don't go wrong. Don't let us go.' The member for Lyne only needs to get on his feet, and he gets the full attention of the Leader of the House and minister for transport. If only those people who are advocates of a second airport in the Sydney basin could get the very same reaction from the minister for transport.

Mr Albanese: I'm on board.

Mr HOCKEY: Speak up, then. The fiscal environment, I suspect, is as bad as the necessity of this amendment from the government would suggest, and the economic environment, which the government boasts is terrific, is not terrific. That is why interest rates have been coming down. Interest rates have not been coming down because the economy is doing really well but because the economy is underperforming. The government fails to understand the impacts that the recklessness of its decision-making has on the broader community, and the impacts caused by these amendments to the bill will be just further examples.