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Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Page: 653

Reserve Bank

Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (14:56): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the government's grant of almost $9 billion to the Reserve Bank, blowing out this year's budget deficit and adding over $1 billion to Australia's debt interest bill. I also refer the Prime Minister to the fact that his government not only refuses to release relevant documentation under FOI but is also defying a Senate order to produce the documents. Prime Minister, what have you got to hide?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:57): We topped up the capital of the Reserve Bank because capital had been stripped by the former government. It is as simple as that. We were advised by the Governor of the Reserve Bank that it was prudent to increase the capital and that is exactly what we have done. In respect of documents that have been sought by the Senate, our policy on this matter will be exactly the same as the policy of previous governments. It is probably worth reminding the former Treasurer that on at least 12 separate occasions the government in which he served refused to comply with an order of this sort from the Senate.

A government member: Hypocrites.

Mr ABBOTT: I do not want to call them hypocrites because that would be outside the standing orders, but that is what they are.

Ms Plibersek: Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister should withdraw. That was a nasty, tricky way of getting something into Hansard.

The SPEAKER: To assist the House—

Mr ABBOTT: I withdraw.