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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5077

Parliamentary Budget Office

Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (14:59): My question is to the Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation. How is the government making sure that members of parliament have access to independent advice on getting policies and proposals fully costed? Why is it important that the Australian people are fully informed about costed and funded policies?

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (15:00): I thank the member for Chifley for his question. This government is very proud of the fact that we have established the Parliamentary Budget Office, which provides an unprecedented opportunity for members of parliament to go and get their policies independently costed. That means that now, for the first time, there will be absolutely no excuses for parties to avoid getting their policies independently costed and having them out there before the Australian people before the election.

Of course, we have all seen the Leader of the Opposition out there running around with his so-called 'real plan'—that little pamphlet that he sticks up under his chin when he does a television interview. He tell us that he has a real plan, but we are just months out from the election and we still do not have a single properly costed policy from the opposition. That is because they are determined to hide their plans from the Australian people.

I read in the Daily Telegraph today that the member for North Sydney has issued a gag order on coalition MPs and coalition candidates talking to the Parliamentary Budget Office 'over fears that new laws will expose the coalition to greater scrutiny'. Well, we would not want that! It just goes to show you the extent to which they will go to avoid having their policies exposed to any scrutiny.

I do note that, to his credit, when the Leader of the Opposition was asked about this today, he said, 'Well, this is all news to me.' But I would have thought that, if the member for North Sydney was writing to his colleagues, the Leader of the Opposition would be at the very top of his mailing list, because when it comes to unfunded and uncosted policies, he is the chief architect. He is the one responsible for their $20 billion paid parental leave cash splash. He is the one that is responsible for the billions of dollars that they want to waste—

Ms Julie Bishop: Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is starting to be like an obsessive compulsive disorder. They do nothing but talk about—

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat and count herself lucky! The Assistant Treasurer has the call.

Mr BRADBURY: He wants to waste billions of dollars handing out money to polluters. And what about that other one, the Northern Australia policy, where they are going to build all of these dams around the place and are going to gold-plate footpaths up in Northern Australia. None of these policies are costed. It is all starting to look like there is a pattern here of those opposite trying to hide their plans from the Australian people.

We all know they are not going to release the nastiest of their policies now; they are saving them for the secret commission of cuts. But now it looks as though they do not want any of their policies to be exposed to any scrutiny ahead of the election and they will not be sending any to the Parliamentary Budget Office. I have to say that there is one thing that should scare every Australian family. What we saw at the last election with their $11 billion black hole is nothing; if they were to get elected at the next election their big black hole will be paid for by every Australian family, and that will be through savage cuts to the bone. (Time expired)