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Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Page: 4496


Mr HAASE (Durack) (18:15): I rise to speak to Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2013-2014, Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2013-2014 and Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2013-2014 concurrently. Associate to write this speech, I reflected upon the last three times to address the House in relation to the annual budget. On 3 June 2010 I said:

The third budget handed down by the current Labor government will go down in Australian history books as being the hypothetical budget. It is based on a wing and a prayer. It is based on robbing the resource industry and it is based on dreams and hypotheses. This budget is not worth the paper it has been written on. The Rudd government took office with a coalition created surplus to the tune of $45 billion. Three years later, here we are looking down the barrel of debt, debt and more debt. Reckless spending and gross mismanagement of taxpayers' dollars will result in Australian families wearing the millstone of debt for many years to come.

On 31 May 2011 I said:

Twelve months ago I spoke on the 2010-11 budget bills. It has been twelve long months of Labor induced waste and debt and further financial hardship for Australian families. As the full scope of this big-spending, big-taxing budget is being digested by scholars, politicians and mums and dads, I, like the aforementioned, can only shake my head in disbelief that a government could treat a nation with such contempt and that a government in power—only by default I might add—has Australia's financial future teetering on the brink of ruin by basing the annual budget on revenue from the mining tax. That is a tax that has not even been legislated.

On 29 May 2012 I said:

I rise to speak on these bills, not with pleasure but, rather, with a great deal of disappointment—disappointment for the manner in which this government is failing this great nation we call home; disappointment for the lack of integrity shown by this Labor-led, Green-endorsed government. This big-spending, high-taxing government belittles the intelligence of the Australian taxpayer.

And today on 29 May 2013 I say my view has not changed. My beliefs have not changed. Rather, my anger has grown at the same rate of knots that this Labor government's spending has grown. My anger is directed at the manner in which the taxpayers' money is being wasted and at the apathy this directionless government displays to all things financial. And today I add to the list of descriptive words I use when speaking of this government the word 'cunning'.

This government has seen the writing on the wall. They know they have a snowball's chance in hell to hold the cheque book in months to come. They have, with this budget; booby trapped the sinking ship so to speak. They have thrown out the bath water and left us, the Liberal Party, holding the baby. They came into power, not in a blaze of glory; it was more of an entrance through the back door, a result of insidious deals behind doors. They have divided, conquered and destroyed a nation's respect for government. They destroyed our reputation as a nation that was internationally renowned for its low sovereign risk, a nation that previously held its Prime Minister in high regard, a nation that was not tarnished by rumour and innuendo and a nation that believed the government was a government of the people.

I truly hope, for the sake of the nation, this is the last address to the appropriation bills I ever make from this side of the house. This year's budget confirms that Labor's budget management is in complete chaos. It confirms what we on this side of the house knew even before the Treasurer announced it; this budget is the fifth record deficit in five years, in fact it is Labor's 12th deficit from its last 12 budgets, predicting at least two more years of deficits to follow.

After six years of chaos, debt and spin, Australians are desperately seeking stable and competent economic management and yet again this government has failed to deliver. This government has failed to deliver on their promises. Last year the Treasurer promised a surplus of $1.5 billion, but instead he has delivered a deficit more than 12 times that—$19.4 billion.

In last year's budget speech, the Treasurer promised:

This Budget delivers a surplus this coming year, on time, as promised, and surpluses each year after that, strengthening over time.

He also promised:

The deficit years of the global recession are behind us. The surplus years are here.

I find it particularly disturbing that this Treasurer continually breaks his promises to us, the people of Australia. A promise can perhaps be best described as a declaration or an assurance that one will do a particular thing or guarantee that a particular thing will happen. As a man of my word, I like to believe in promises. We all have the right to expect that, when the Treasurer says something, he is saying it hand-on-heart and that he means it. Broken promises or a cunning plan to booby trap the sinking boat show that, either way, he has not been honest in his dealings with the people of Australia. Smoke-and-mirrors instead of transparency has become the hallmark of this Treasurer and, for that matter, this government.

At the last election, Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised that Australia's net debt would peak at less than $90 billion. This budget reveals that net debt will now peak at over $191 billion—more than double what was promised by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 18:21 to 18:34

Mr HAASE: I believe I should recommence with: Labor spruiks they have a revenue problem when in fact they have a spending problem. Revenue in 2013-14 is projected to be $80 billion more than at the end of the Howard government years. Yet the Treasurer plans to deliver his sixth deficit in a row. Spending in 2013-14 will be $120 billion more than spending at the end of the Howard years. With Australia's terms of trade still extraordinarily high—15 per cent higher than at any time during the Howard government—the budget should already be back in surplus. But over the last five years the government has spent $192 billion more than it has raised. Expenditure as a percentage of GDP has been higher every year under Labor than in the last years of the Howard government.

The budget papers reveal that Australia's gross debt will breach Labor's $300 billion debt ceiling within the forward estimates. The budget papers foreshadow a further increase in the debt ceiling, stating:

The government will legislate to increase the limit as it becomes necessary.

If only I had a credit card where, at a whim, I could increase its limit and then leave the payments to someone else! That is exactly what this government is doing. They are spending willy-nilly and leaving Australian taxpayers and their grandchildren—and maybe great grandchildren, for that matter—to pay the debt.

Over the first four years of the great mining tax, the minerals resource rent tax that the Labor government secretly thought would pay for their re-election in September, the forecast revenues collapsed from $22.5 billion to $3.3 billion. In fact, mining tax revenue in 2012-13 is a staggering 95 per cent below Treasurer Wayne Swan's original MRRT revenue forecast. The spreading the benefits of the boom package, which was the centrepiece of Treasurer Swan's last three budgets, seems to have been deleted from the budget papers altogether. I did, however, go to the government website Budget 2012-13 and re-read some of the hollow promises made. Of particular interest was a page bearing, in big, bold gold script 'Spreading the benefits of the boom'. Quite clearly, for all and sundry to see, right under the heading it said:

The core of this budget is a plan to spread the benefits of the resources boom to help families on low and middle incomes with the cost of living, while still returning the budget to surplus on time and as promised—

hollow words indeed. The page goes on to say:

The Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) is a historic economic reform which means the benefits of the boom can be invested in Australia's future.

… … …

The Spreading the Benefits of the Boom package will deliver increases in income to families with children, young people and the unemployed.

A little further down the page, we find more hollow words:

From 1 July 2013 Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB-A) will increase for all eligible families.

For those on the maximum rate, the Government will deliver an increase of $300 per year for families with one child and an increase of $600 for families with two or more children.

Labor trumpeted their claim that they were spreading the benefits of the boom, and now we find it is another broken promise.

Despite the comprehensive failure of the mining tax to raise any meaningful revenue so far, the Treasurer's 2016-17 surplus promise relies on mining tax revenue increasing by more than 10 times from its level this year. You cannot kill the golden goose and still expect a big, fat golden egg every morning. The carbon tax introduced after the infamous 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead' statement by Prime Minister Gillard in 2010 is by no stretch of the imagination going to receive the dollar-per-tonne amount forecast by the government. Despite the crumbling EU carbon price, the government continues to forecast receiving $38 a tonne in 2019-20, while the forecast carbon price for 2015-16 has dropped to $12 per tonne—a cost of over $5 billion to revenue. It remains more than double the European market forward price for 2015 of $6 per tonne.

The budget delivers more than $25 billion in higher taxes over the next four years—99 per cent of which will hit Australians after the next election. In fact, 60 per cent of the government's deemed savings are new or increased taxes. Two years ago, Treasurer Swan promised there would be, '500,000 jobs created by 30 June this year'. So far, he has delivered barely half that number—another broken budget promise.

The budget papers reveal yet another blow-out in the management of Australia's borders by at least $4.7 billion since last year's budget. The budget also assumes that boat arrivals will phase down over the next four years, despite arrivals now being at a record level. I can speak firsthand of the arrivals; not only of a record level but also of a record arrival in the city of Greater Geraldton, a booming city in the heart of my electorate of Durack. On 9 April just this year, 66 Sri Lankans on a leaky boat sailed casually into the Geraldton bay, between a coffee shop and a children's water park. Believed to have been at sea for 44 days, the boat was apparently destined for New Zealand. Of course, this came as no great surprise to me. The government and their processes are in such disarray that we should be expecting the worst. What does surprise me is that this is the first vessel that has made it down this far, considering the hundreds that have set out—and we have had $25 billion dollars ripped out from the defence budget in the last four years.

In short, the 2013-14 budget delivers the following: total gross debt to reach the $300 billion debt ceiling within the forward estimates; Labor's fifth record deficit in five years, with at least two more deficits to come; record net debt of $192 billion dollars; no credible path back to surplus; more promises broken, such as the scrapping of tax cuts and family payments; and more than $25 billion in higher taxes over the next four years. If only this government had displayed the same rigour to Australia's bank account as to the outrageous acts of cunning we witnessed in this coming financial year's budget, Australia would not be staring down the barrel of fiscal ruin and we the Liberals would not have to bail the country out of financial hardship yet again.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms O'Neill ): The question is:

That this bill be now read a second time.