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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1812

Mr HOGAN (Page) (10:16): I have the pleasure of being on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, and twice a year we get the Governor of the RBA to come and have an audience with us where we ask him questions about the state of the economy and what is happening. We are meeting him on Friday this week. He has enabled us to ask some school students to come along and ask questions of him. I had a competition in my electorate where I asked any high school student in year 11 or year 12 doing economics or business studies to put a question to the Governor of the Reserve Bank. I then said the winners could come along with me on Friday and ask their questions.

I am very happy to inform the parliament that the two winners have been chosen. I want to share with you all today the questions that they asked. First, we have Jeremy, who is studying economics. His question was the following: 'Governor, in around five years from now I will have graduated from university and will be looking for postgraduate employment. What I would like to know is what effect you think the potentially unsustainable levels of sovereign debt of the US, Europe and, indeed, Australia will have on the Australian economy in the medium to long term, especially in regards to employment?'

What an insightful question from an 18-year-old who is very aware of the debt levels of countries around the world and wants to know the ramifications of that. In conversation with him I learned that he is aware that our interest bill per year is $10 billion. So while we will spend money on social services and infrastructure in Australia, wouldn't it be lovely if we did not have the hundreds of billions of dollars of debt and did not have to pay $10 billion a year in interest that we do not get anything for? That interest bill happens year in and year out.

The second question is from a young lady called Josie. She lives in Wyrallah. Again, she had a really insightful question. Her question to the governor was: 'If the unemployment rate heads over seven per cent and inflation moves above your three per cent comfort level, would you raise the cash rate to fight inflation first or keep the cash rate low to support greater employment?'

That is a great, insightful question. I pay tribute to the students and their teachers. They are obviously getting very well taught, based on their knowledge of economics and their insightful questions. I look forward to seeing them on Friday to ask the Governor of the RBA these questions and to sharing time with them.