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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1744

Ms MARINO (ForrestGovernment Whip) (15:51): When I read the topic of this matter of public importance, I realised, as my colleagues do, why the members opposite continue to ignore the fact that there is actually a reason that in this parliament the coalition sits on this side of the House. It is that in September, in the election, the people of Australia were faced with a stark choice. It was a really simple choice: the coalition plan for the future that was about stability and certainty versus the Labor plan for endless debt and deficit. What a choice—stability and certainty versus endless debt and deficit! Well, the Australian people made a choice.

The then Leader of the Opposition and our team, including the member for Wentworth, who is at the table, outlined a very clear plan for the future of this great nation—something many people lost sight of during the Labor years. It is a plan that is centred on economic restraint—a brand-new concept for those opposite—and taking responsibility for government expenditure. We had to start by fixing Labor's mess—and it was and is a mess thanks to Labor. We committed to ending Labor's continual and unremitting budget deficits and spiralling national debt.

Has anybody forgotten the constant internal chaos? Members opposite have selective memories. We saw the continuous leadership debacle—something members opposite forget—that actually made Australia, a great nation, an international political joke and that further eroded the confidence of individual Australians. Labor conveniently tries to whitewash this as though there was not a continuous change of leadership and uncertainty. What is going to happen next? Remember the buzz around this place, 'Who is going to be there tomorrow morning?' What confidence did that give to our businesses and our communities. That is what we heard all the time when we were out and about, 'Who's going to be the Prime Minister tomorrow?' That is what happened under Labor.

We also know that the Rudd-Gillard, Gillard-Rudd—or whatever—Labor government never achieved, and never would, a budget surplus. They never actually had a plan to achieve one in the foreseeable future. It was the never-never plan—one day maybe. The Australian people saw through that. We know Labor was on track. Every time they came into this place I saw in their faces that they thought it was someone else's money they were spending. There are very few in small business or who run a business on that side who know what debt is and how to pay it off. What we saw was Labor continuing to add to Australia's greatest ever national debt, to levels that will take decades to repay.

What an amazing legacy! How proud they are of this legacy. They left their burden of incompetence for future generations—that is what it is—for perhaps two generations of Australian taxpayers. We do not underestimate the depth of the task, but Labor think this is some sort of a joke and that is how they treated spending taxpayers' money. I used to see it on their faces when they came in here. They took no responsibility. I say to members opposite: we take the spending of Australian taxpayers' money far more seriously than even if it were our own. That is the rigor that we bring to this place and that is what is needed. That was completely missing every time I saw Labor come into this place.

We did take a great plan to the campaign and to what we are doing here as a government. We heard today that there is slowly increasing confidence in this nation, as there should be, because the nation is a great nation but it was taken down the path by Labor of endless debt and deficit. We did see a loss of confidence. We will restore that confidence. That is what I hear when I walk around in my community and talk to businesses and individuals. Those businesses actually provide the jobs. They know what it takes. Members opposite never did. All they knew was how to waste billions of taxpayers' money in this great country.