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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1187

Economy


Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (14:16): My question is also to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in the face of global uncertainty over the past few years, how has Australia acted to protect jobs and growth in our economy? Why is it important for us to keep supporting jobs and growth by implementing responsible and properly costed policies?


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:16): I thank the member for Makin for his question. Jobs and growth drive every decision that this government takes when it comes to our economic settings and the future of the country. We understand how important a job is to a family, not just in terms of the future but in terms of the cost-of-living pressures. Those opposite do not understand that. I was pleased to see, as the Prime Minister said before, the American President today reaffirm how important it is to have a growing economy to secure prosperity, to secure good living standards and, most particularly, to secure jobs, which are the foundation of the peace of mind of all of our people. He made the point that a growing economy supports middle-class jobs. This is a government that has been driven by that ambition every day that we have been in office.

As the Prime Minister said before, it is disappointing to see that those opposite do not share this view. They have the view that they have to take a sledgehammer to our economy like the sledgehammer that has been taken to the Queensland economy by the Queensland Premier. They have ticked off on just about every one of those cuts in Queensland, all of them damaging to growths and to jobs in the Queensland community.

Central to generating jobs and growth is good fiscal policy, and that fiscal policy has to be absolutely transparent. We have been accountable for our fiscal policy through budgets, mid-year updates and economic statements at every turn during the five years that we have been in office. That is absolutely essential to supporting jobs and growth. Those opposite do not support that approach. Not once in five years have they put forward a carefully costed policy that has passed the costing test—not once.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Treasurer was not asked about the opposition's policies. Yet again he has veered away from the question, as he does day after day, to an unbridled attack on the opposition. I ask you to call him back to order.

The SPEAKER: Indeed, I actually could not hear the question because of the noise coming from the opposition. The Clerk could not hear the question. He usually gives me a prompt on our little chamber chat facility. I am in the precarious position of believing that the Treasurer probably knew what the question was before coming in and is being relevant to it. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: Indeed. I was making the point that carefully costed policies are what support jobs and growth in our economy. We had the shadow Treasurer yesterday refusing to release any policies. But then we had the contrast, with the shadow finance minister telling the parliament that of course the costings have been done. That is what he said in the second chamber. Why on earth is the shadow Treasurer hiding the costings that have been done by the shadow finance minister? They come in here every day and claim that the government is spending too much and is too big. And then they say, 'But we can't tell you what our costings are; we can't tell you where we are going to cut.' If you think government is too big, come in here and announce your costings; come in here and tell the Australian people how you are going to find $70 billion worth of savings. We know how you will do it: the schoolkids bonus will be gone, the tripling of the tax-free threshold will be gone; superannuation will be gone— (Time expired)

Mr Hockey: You're an idiot.

The SPEAKER: And the member for North Sydney may be gone very quickly if he does not adhere to at least one of the standing orders that I am sure he is aware of by now.