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Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Page: 10242

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (18:37): I thank the honourable members who have taken part in the debate on the Commonwealth Government Securities Legislation Amendment (Retail Trading) Bill 2012. Trading of CGS on a retail financial market is important because it provides retail investors with a visible pricing benchmark for corporate bonds. Trading of CGS on retail financial markets is, therefore, an important step in the formation of a wider retail debt debate. Building a deep and liquid domestic corporate bond market will in turn help reduce our reliance on overseas wholesale funding markets and help harness our national superannuation savings so we can domestically fund more productive investment in our economy.

The government has consulted with industry stakeholders on how retail CGS trading should be implemented and has decided to adopt the model based on depository interests in the CGS. The bill makes a number of necessary amendments to the legislation to allow retail investors to start trading and investing in depository interests in CGS. The bill ensures that the investor protection and market integrity provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 apply to retail CGS. Financial services providers will have to comply with a range of licensing, conduct and disclosure requirements when they provide their services in relation to CGS depository interests. The bill will require special information statements to be provided to retail clients when they are given personal advice about CGS depository interests. The government considers the tailor-made disclosure documents are appropriate for CGS depository interests, given they are a particular type of safe and simple investment. The government will ensure that these information statements provide concise and targeted information on CGS depository interests and will be made available to the public on a dedicated website, together with other information related to CGS.

There were some contributions to this debate from those opposite, and I know that the member for Goldstein has returned to the chamber. Listening to the member for Goldstein, you would be led to believe that the state of the Australian economy was something akin to the state of the Greek economy or akin to the state of the Spanish economy. In fact, I use those references because they are the deceptive comparisons that have been made by the Premier of Queensland and, indeed, by those of his colleagues in New South Wales. These are the deceptive and the misleading comparisons that have been made by your state Liberal colleagues. And what have they done? They have used these deceptive and misleading comparisons as a basis for hacking the living daylights out of services and ripping away jobs—ripping them away.

What we have seen in Queensland and New South Wales today from your Liberal and National colleagues is exactly what the Australian public will see if you ever get your hands on the levers of power in this country. You have a $70 billion black hole. What we saw in New South Wales today was $1.7 billion worth of cuts. You have a $70 billion black hole. That is only $1.7 billion, and look at the damage that can be done with cuts of that magnitude. There are parents who have picked up their kids from school across New South Wales today—and it does not matter whether they go to a government school, a local Catholic school or an independent school—and been greeted with the news that funding to the tune of $1.7 billion has been ripped out of the education budget. This is something that the people of New South Wales are not going to cop lying down. But, every time someone in New South Wales joins one of the inevitable protests that will occur over the coming weeks, I ask each and every one of those people to just reflect upon the damage that the Liberals have done with a $1.7 billion cut and magnify that by about another 70 times, because that is the extent of the damage that is going to need to be done by ripping away services and cutting jobs in order to fill the $70 billion black hole that even the member for Goldstein acknowledges exists.

His colleague has sought to walk away from it, even though he mentioned it on morning television. But now we see the member for Goldstein continues to make the point. I heard his interjection a bit earlier where he said, 'Oh, well, that's the price you pay if you want to have the sort of debt you people have saddled us with.' Our net debt as a percentage of GDP is about a 10th of that of our major economic competitors' across the globe—about a 10th. It is misleading, it is deceptive, but it is what Liberals do. If you vote for a Liberal government, sooner or later you will get one. And what do they do? Sooner or later they rip away funding. They cut services and they cut jobs. If you need any evidence of that, look at what they are doing in New South Wales and look at what they are doing in Queensland.

Mr Shorten: And Victoria.

Mr BRADBURY: The minister mentions Victoria. So if you want to see the damage they can do, look at that $1.7 billion worth of cuts and magnify it by another 70—$70 billion, that is the black hole they have got to fill. So when they come here and talk about debt and talk about these ridiculous comparisons with countries that are performing so poorly, they are trying to soften people up so they can do exactly what Premier Newman and Premier O'Farrell and Premier Baillieu are doing.

This is an important bill. This will play an important role in developing a deep and liquid corporate bond market. It is a critical reform that is part of the Gillard government's broad agenda to promote Australia as a leading financial services hub and to boost our reputation as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world. Irrespective of what those opposite seek to say, we continue to be one of the best investment destinations in the global economy.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.