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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3502


Mr LYONS (Bass) (14:09): My question is to the Treasurer. Why is it so important to present the Australian people with a detailed, costed plan to make our nation and our economy stronger?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:10): I thank the member for Bass for that question. We do have a detailed plan to create prosperity in our nation and to spread opportunity to every postcode of our nation. What we are doing in this budget is building on our underlying economic streets. We have an economy which is 13 per cent bigger than it was before the global financial crisis, and it will be 22 per cent bigger by mid-2015. Something like 960,000 jobs have been created in Australia since we came to office, and we have got a AAA credit rating from the three major global rating agencies. What all this says is that we got the big economic calls right in this country when they were needed, and, in particular, we got them right during the global financial crisis.

Overnight we have seen some more disturbing data which has come from Europe. We have now seen that there have been six consecutive quarters of negative growth in Europe, and what is being done in Europe is they are following a policy of austerity—austerity for austerity's sake. What that is leading to is contractions in those economies and higher unemployment. We on this side of the House have taken a choice. We have taken the choice to support jobs and growth and to do that for the long-term benefit of our economy. The budget makes our economy stronger through critical investments in infrastructure but also makes our nation smarter because we have put in place additional investment for the school improvement program. Most importantly, it makes our nation fairer, because we are fully funding DisabilityCare Australia.

I guess that is why it was so disappointing to see in the Telegraph today that a source very close to the Liberals said that they would not be providing the same amount of money as the government would provide for DisabilityCare. They were telegraphing, if you like, in the Leader of the Opposition's favourite newsletter that they were going to cut funding for DisabilityCare Australia. On this side of the House there is a vision for the future, there are detailed plans and there is funding for a decade. What we know is on that side of the House is a plan for vicious cuts, a plan for cuts to disability and a plan for cuts to schooling, because what they are doing is following the approach of Campbell Newman. Campbell Newman took to the people of Queensland a whole set of proposals, none of which he did after the election. He had a commission of audit and he cut to the bone in the state of Queensland. He slashed health and slashed education. The Leader of the Opposition is going to try to skate through tonight not providing any great detail, and he is going to do that because he knows that, if he told the Australian people about his plans, they would never accept those sorts of vicious cuts to the bone.