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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3223

Economy


Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (15:06): My question is to the Treasurer. Why has the Treasurer chosen to double budget deficits over the next four years in his mid-year economic statement by adding $68 billion in new spending and changes to economic assumptions?


Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (15:06): The fact is our numbers tell the truth and Labor's did not. Labor's last attack on costings did not go too well. Remember the election campaign? Remember Labor came out and attacked our costings? I have another book from the library. I am becoming quite the accomplished library customer.

Mr Bowen: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question was about the Treasurer's $68 billion fiddle. It was about his mid-year economic statement.

The SPEAKER: The member for McMahon will resume his seat. There is no point of order, and you will not use the standing orders in that way.

Mr HOCKEY: I cite this book by Bruce Hawker; The Rudd Rebellion it is titled. It says: 'When Rudd, Bowen and Wong held a joint press conference attacking the opposition costings'—that is our costings—'and in doing so used out of date information, the response by the Treasury and Finance department CEOs was devastating. They said it was an invalid comparison and suddenly our costings attack on the opposition was in tatters.' So that was Bruce Hawker. And I thought to myself: surely Labor would learn the lesson that, if they are attacking our numbers, they have to be credible. Of course, the credibility of the Labor Party was lost when on more than 300 occasions they promised to deliver a surplus and they never did. I came across the budget newsletter from Bill Shorten MP. And it says here—

Mr Dreyfus: Your $68 billion!

The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs will desist.

Mr HOCKEY: This is his newsletter and it says 'Moonee Ponds', and it has got a nice photo—a much younger looking Bill Shorten, I might say. This is Labor. It says, 'This budget—'

Mr Dreyfus: Your $68 billion!

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order under standing order 104(a). The Treasurer is clearly not being directly relevant to the question that was asked.

The SPEAKER: The question was about budget figures and was very wide ranging. I am listening attentively to the Treasurer's answer, and the Treasurer has the call.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, on the point of order, the standing orders are very clear that the opposition can only take one point of order on relevance in each question and answer. That was designed to stop this kind of disruption of question time.

Mr Dreyfus: You'd know all about disruption of question time!

The SPEAKER: That was the second point of order on relevance. Only one is permitted.

Mr HOCKEY: And, of course, the newsletter from the now Leader of the Opposition said:

This budget ensures that the benefits of the boom are spread to all corners of our country. We have brought the budget back to surplus on time, as promised …

Mr Dreyfus: The question was about your $68 billion!

The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs will desist.

Mr HOCKEY: And just in case you missed it on the front page, it is on the back page as well.

Mr Dreyfus: The question was about your $68 billion!

The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs will desist.

Mr HOCKEY: 'Back in surplus on time, as promised. We have delivered a surplus on time, as promised.' Now, the Labor Party has been out in the last 24 hours talking about their budget rules, suggesting that if we kept to their budget rules we would have the budget coming back in surplus. The problem is that Labor never kept to their budget rules. Therefore, they never delivered surplus.

Mr Dreyfus: How about your $68 billion?

The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs is warned.

Mr HOCKEY: They would never deliver a surplus. They have no economic credibility. They got every single number wrong, and they left the Australian people to pick up the bill from a very bad Labor government.

The SPEAKER: I call the member for McMahon.