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Monday, 23 May 2011
Page: 4061


Mr ROBB (Goldstein) (15:48): Earlier, I was addressing the underhand and deceptive way in which this government has sought to increase the Commonwealth debt ceiling from $200 billion to $250 billion. In order that this parliament has the transparency that should be granted by any responsible government on a matter of this consequence, I formally move the amendment previously circulated in this chamber: I move:

That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"while not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:

(1) condemns the government for incorporating in an annual appropriation bill provisions to increase the limit on government borrowings above the total of $200 billion;

(2) recognises that a special case must be made for such a significant increase in borrowing limits and that the government must explain any special circumstances that it believes justify such an increase; and

(3) demands that the Parliament be given the opportunity to consider separately and vote on the proposed increases in borrowing limits set out in Part 5 of Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2011-12.

Rather than live within its means, this government is not only increasing taxes and spending but also increasing government debt. At a time when millions and millions of Australian families are seeking desperately to live within their means and to meet their cost-of-living expenses, and at a time when a government is increasing debt in such magnitude, to massively lift this debt ceiling without proper parliamentary scrutiny is totally unacceptable. It has never before happened in this chamber that this sort of measure would be included within an appropriation bill. Trying to hide this measure under the cover of an appropriation bill has confirmed the fears and the anxieties of millions of Australians about the competency and trustworthiness of this government. This is a failed government. It is a dysfunctional government. It is a dangerous government. I urge this House to support the amendment that is now before them.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is the amendment seconded?

Mr TONY SMITH: I second the amendment.