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Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Page: 6064

Carbon Pricing

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:00): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind her of comments by Cameron Clyne, National Australia Bank CEO, that there is 'a bias towards pessimism' among businesses because 'we currently have a national mood of gloom'. Will the Prime Minister help to lift this national mood of gloom by cancelling the carbon tax increase?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:01): I genuinely, genuinely thank the Leader of the Opposition for this question, because, of course, the Leader of the Opposition and his team are the creators of and contributors to this national mood. They are out there with their reckless and ridiculous claims about a budget emergency. He quotes Cameron Clyne from the National Australia Bank—

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business is warned!

Ms GILLARD: He quotes the CEO of the National Australia Bank. I suggest the Leader of the Opposition get him on the phone and ask him whether or not he would endorse the opposition's language of 'budget emergency'. Of course he would not, because responsible businesspeople know that the Leader of the Opposition and his team are seeking political advantage by talking the Australian economy down. What they seek to do every day is to pretend that the Australian economy is somehow weak, to pretend that there is somehow an unsustainable burden of debt.

The Leader of the Opposition ought to know—though, given his lack of knowledge of economics, perhaps he does not—that, compared with countries around the world, the Australian economy is standing resilient and strong, having come through the global financial crisis by unions, businesses, this government and the Australian community working together to ensure we kept Australians in work. Having come through that global financial crisis strong, we are here today with sustainable public finances, a AAA rating by every major ratings agency for the first time in our nation's history and, despite all the ridiculous claims of the opposition, with modest debt—the equivalent of someone earning $100,000 a year having a $12,000 mortgage. We are in a position, therefore, having come through strong with strong public finances and a AAA rating, to build and invest for the future, which is precisely what this government is doing: investing in a clean energy future, which the Leader of the Opposition wants to wreck; investing in a National Broadband Network, which the Leader of the Opposition wants to wreck; investing in infrastructure, which the Leader of the Opposition wants to wreck; and, of course, he is wrecking our chances for our children to have a high-quality, world-class education so we can be a strong and prosperous nation in the future—something the Leader of the Opposition wants to wreck. National mood of gloom? Have a look in the mirror!

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:04): Madam Speaker, I have a supplementary question. When will the Prime Minister finally stop blaming others and take responsibility for her own failure to deliver a surplus, her own failure to stop the boats and her own failure to be honest about a carbon tax? Why won't she rescind the increase due on 1 July?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:04): To the Leader of the Opposition: when will you stop this nonsense and start articulating policies for the nation's future? He comes into this parliament and quotes Cameron Clyne from the National Australia Bank. Get him on the phone and find out how he feels about your company tax increase, get him on the phone and ask him how much you are going to cost that bank, and get him on the phone and ask him how much of that is going to be passed through to people who have mortgages with the National Australia Bank. That should give you some information about how interest rates for people who are seeking to work hard, raise their families and buy their own home will be increased by your reckless policies and plans—just one thing you intend to do to hurt Australian families. Their interest rates will go up, their school kids bonus will be gone and their future that could be in high-wage and high-skill jobs will be destroyed by your recklessness.

The Leader of the Opposition has peddled falsehoods and nonsense for too long. He cannot—he is obviously unable to—articulate a vision for this country's future, other than the secret cuts that he does not want families to know about, and there is no better example than this question in question time today. National mood of gloom—that is the Leader of the Opposition. Positive plans for the future—that is what the government is doing: investing and creating a stronger, smarter and fairer nation.