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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1350

Capital Gains Tax


Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (14:45): My question is to the Treasurer. Why should Australians believe the Treasurer when he says the government is not considering changes to capital gains tax, given that, just this week, the government has claimed that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is at risk and not at risk, that tax increases are being prepared and not being prepared by the government, and that the Abbott government 'zombie measures' are being retained and also being dumped? How can this Liberal government provide economic leadership when the Treasurer contradicts himself every day?


Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:46): Our position is crystal clear: we are working to bring the budget back to balance by 2021. We have set out the measures that are required to do that, and they are the projections that are set out in those documents and were confirmed again in the MYEFO statement at the end of last year. After that document was released in December 2016, the AAA credit rating was once again affirmed by all three ratings agencies. It is this government that continues to have the policies set before this parliament that will take us back into balance.

There is only one group of people who sit in this parliament who are working against that objective, and you really have to wonder why. Those opposite have been accused of trying to talk down the economy to risk Australia's AAA credit rating for their own benefit. I have not made that statement, but I can understand that suspicion. It would be a pretty dog act for those opposite to seek to frustrate the savings measures of this government purely to pursue their own cynical political objective of trying to force a downgrade of the AAA credit rating.

Those opposite need to come to terms with the responsibility they have to sit in this chamber and consider these matters. We have made it crystal clear how this budget can come back to balance by dealing with the expenditure challenges that we have, and to make sure that government lives within its means. Australian householders live within their means; businesses live within their means; but those opposite refuse to do it. They continue to demand higher and higher spending. They continue to demand that this government not take the necessary steps to ensure that our welfare budget is sustainable so it can support the Australians who desperately need it and so it can be targeted to meet their needs.

Those opposite are engaged in a very cynical game. They come into this place and they sneer and they smear and they cheer and they carry on, but what they forget is the very serious business that this parliament is trying to conduct, and that business is to clean up the mess that they left behind. They set fire to that budget, and they pour petrol on it every single day from opposition. That is what they need to come to terms with. They need to be accountable for the votes and the actions they take. Cynical populism and opportunism may be the career record of the Leader of the Opposition, but they are no job application to be Prime Minister.