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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3905


Mr LAUNDY (Reid) (14:06): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline the importance of reducing debt and deficits? How will making the budget sustainable help my constituents in Reid?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:07): I know the member for Reid has been most concerned about the level of debt that has been handed to the Australian people by the Labor Party. He has often used the line that we are now borrowing to pay the interest on that debt, and he is absolutely right, because in their first five years in office Labor delivered $191 billion in deficits and they left a legacy going forward of $123 billion of deficits, but the budget was never getting to surplus. And they left debt of $667 billion. That is quite amazing.

In his budget reply speech last year the now Prime Minister identified $5 billion a year in savings to help repair the budget. He had the courage to stand up here in the budget in-reply speech, just as the Leader of the Opposition is going to do tonight, and he said, 'There is a budget emergency. Let's put $5 billion a year of savings on the table.' We said that before the election to prove we were so concerned about the legacy of Labor, involving debt and deficits. We were up-front with the Australian people right here. Now, tonight—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer has taken his seat for a very particular reason, which is that the level of noise was far out of control.

Mr Burke: I rise on a point of order. I appreciate the ruling you made when the noise was interjections, but when people are laughing at the Treasurer, because he has completely mischaracterised—

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

Mr HOCKEY: I am so pleased the member for Watson just interjected, because I was looking at his comments last night on TV, where he said, 'We had a spending growth cap of two per cent in place. We had actually observed better than that. We had a cap in spending.' I went back and I heard him say that in fact their spending cap was just over one per cent. I thought: hang on, that is not right. How did he get 1.35 per cent over four years? It was because he left out the fifth year, which had 12 per cent growth. How did that happen? So Labor had this artificial cap at two per cent, which in fact they never met.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Parramatta will desist.

Mr HOCKEY: They said, 'Going forward, don't worry Australia, it is a two per cent cap.' But, in fact, going forward they left a 3.7 per cent cap. That is a $220 billion mistake. I say to the Labor Party: we know you are walking away from reality, but tonight the Leader of the Opposition has to be frank with the Australian people not just about his legacy but about what he is going to do.