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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3211


Mr PORTER (Pearce) (14:19): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline the challenges for the budget over the medium term? Treasurer, how will fixing the budget assist families in Western Australia and elsewhere?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:19): I thank the honourable member for his question. He is a former Treasurer of Western Australia and he is well aware of the challenge of inheriting a budget mess from Labor, as he did. The fundamental point is that if you get on with the job of fixing the budget, you have a chance of fixing the economy. When you have a weak budget that is consistently running deficits, that is constantly accumulating debt for the nation, then that, over time, can unquestionably weaken the economy. There have been many different surveys on this, but the truth is that it is good to have a strong budget. That is why we have to get back to surplus and a sustainable surplus at that. The Labor Party is in denial. They left behind deficits totalling $123 billion and debt increasing to $667 billion. They left a time frame that shows not a single surplus over the next 10 years. That is Labor's legacy. The fact is that they did not know how to control spending.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HOCKEY: Don't believe me if you don't want to, but believe the IMF, which released a report in February this year that found that Labor's spending would rise to 26.5 per cent of GDP by 2023. That is up from today's 25.9 per cent, so it would increase as a percentage of GDP. The IMF said:

… health and disability spending are expected to increase over the next decade by ½ percent of GDP each, and education, assistance to the aged and pensions by 0.2 percent each.

That is the equivalent of an extra $32 billion a year in spending in today's dollars. That would take the budget deficit this year to well over $70 billion. Labor can be in denial about this, but it is a fact identified by the Treasury, by every credible commentator, by the IMF, by those people who are determined to tell the truth.

Mr Swan: That's another lie!

Mr HOCKEY: The truth is your greatest stranger, I say to the member for Lilley. The fact is you never delivered it.

The SPEAKER: The member for Lilley will withdraw. He knows that that language is unparliamentary.

Mr Swan: I withdraw.