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Thursday, 27 June 2013
Page: 7275

Budget


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:31): My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister stand by the spending commitments and savings measures in the 2013 Labor government budget delivered just six weeks ago?

Ms Macklin interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister is warned!



Mr RUDD (Griffith—Prime Minister) (14:31): I thank the member for North Sydney for his question. I know his deep concern for the state of our economy. We have discussed this many times privately and publicly over a long period. I will be discussing the general state of the budget and the state of the economy, including new international challenges—

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Herbert is warned!

Mr RUDD: such as the China resources boom, when the new cabinet meets. I assume that will be early next week. Over the course of the weekend, I intend to obtain Treasury briefings to update myself on the current budgetary circumstances. That is the proper and methodical way to go through important considerations and that is what I intend to do. Also, I remind the member for North Sydney about how strong our economic fundamentals are. Therefore, when those opposite, as I have observed from a distant place over the last few years, engage in a constant attack on the levels of debt and the levels of budget deficit in this country, frankly, they have never answered this very simple question: if it is so bad, why do the world's three major credit ratings agencies give Australia a AAA rating? Member for North Sydney, answer that one for me.

Ms O'Dwyer interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Higgins will leave the chamber under standing order 94(a).

The member for Higgins then left the chamber.

Mr RUDD: All three global ratings agencies—Fitch, Standard & Poor's and Moody's, which are not sub-branches of the Australian Labor Party and do not work for the cause of international socialism—have separately looked at our level of government debt and our level of budget deficit, and have judged it to be one of only eight countries in the world worthy of a AAA credit rating.

Again to the member for North Sydney, as he seeks to drill in on questions of the budget and budget integrity, how does he answer that proposition? I put it to him once during a television debate and all I heard was a bit of spluttering at the other end. We still have not had an answer to that simple proposition. It is not us saying it; it is the international credit agencies saying it. The reason for it is that it is true. The finances of this country are in first-class working order and he knows it.