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Thursday, 27 November 2008
Page: 11716

Mr HARTSUYKER (1:56 PM) —Yesterday, 26 November was a significant date on the Australian political calendar. It was ‘Deficit Day’. It was the day on which the PM confessed to what he would not admit to the Australian people. It was back to the future, back to the old ways of Labor, back to the dark days of deficit. The rhetoric of Labor on the economy has been transforming on a daily basis. The inflation genie and the war on inflation have been confined to history even though inflation is rising. Kevin Rudd and the hollow men are no longer inflation fighters; they are now obsessed with fiscal stimulation. I note the comments on the front page of the Australian today in an article by Michael Stutchbury. It says:

IT took six months for Wayne Swan to tear up Labor’s first Budget in 12 years. It has taken another three weeks for Kevin Rudd to shred the replacement budget that insisted Australia would keep growing through the global crisis and preserve its budget surplus.

The Rudd rhetoric speaks of being ahead of the curve whilst the reality is that the government has been on the backfoot, the government has been playing catch-up and the government has been misleading the Australian people and concealing the truth from the Australian people.

Were they so blind that three weeks ago they could not see collapsing commodity prices? Could they not see falling employment, falling business confidence or falling consumer confidence? Were things that good just three weeks ago? Was there a subprime crisis three weeks ago? I think there was. Were there bank failures three weeks ago? Were there falling retail sales in this country three weeks ago? The world has not changed that much in three weeks. The simple reality is the Prime Minister and the Treasurer have been misleading the Australian people and they have been misreading the economic conditions time and time again.

How can the Australian people have faith in a government which is putting its political interests ahead of the nation’s economic interests? How can the Australian people have faith in a Treasurer who clearly just does not understand? There is the bungled bank guarantee, egging the Reserve Bank to put up interest rates just as the economy was beginning to contract. These are the actions of a government more interested in politics than jobs. With a recession looming around the world, jobs, not photo opportunities, are the most important priority of government; jobs, not spin, are the most important priority of the government. This government has been found wanting time and time again as it seeks photo opportunities and as it seeks promotional opportunities for itself ahead of the interests of the Australian people. This is a government that is happy to allow our future generations to pay off the debt that they are about to incur. The global financial crisis has arrived at our shores, the brown material is about to strike the rotating implement and this government has been found wanting.

The SPEAKER —It being 2 pm, the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 97. The debate may be resumed at a later hour and the member will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.