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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2767

Higher Education

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:00): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's comments this morning on radio station 2SM, where he was asked about the future of his defeated plans for $100,000 degrees, and he said, 'We will have another go.' Prime Minister, doesn't this show that the same cuts and chaos in his last budget will be front and centre of the next budget?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:00): There are no plans in the terms that the Leader of the Opposition alleges. None whatsoever. The only universities that have indicated what their fees would be have said fees are half the level that the Leader of the Opposition suggests. As for the budget, this will be a prudent, frugal and responsible budget. It will build on the strong foundation that was laid last year.

As members of this House should now well know from studying the intergenerational report, under the measures this parliament has already legislated Labor's debt and deficit is halved going forward. We were left in a catastrophic position by members opposite—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Jagajaga!—

Mr ABBOTT: whose claim back in 2012 was: 'the four years of surpluses that I announce tonight', which were never, ever delivered. Instead we had debt to GDP racing towards 120 per cent.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat! The member for Grayndler will desist!

Mr ABBOTT: We said that we would get back to a strong and sustainable surplus as soon as possible, and we will.