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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3510


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:39): I refer the Treasurer to his answer to a question on 21 May when he said, 'At the end of each year we will be within the $250 billion cap—and he explained the face value of gross debt. Given that his own budget papers give four-year forecasts on net debt, why will the Treasurer not come clean with the Australian people and explain exactly how much gross debt at face value will be owed by Australian taxpayers under his four-year budget?

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Herbert will leave the chamber under 94(a).

The member for Herbert then left the chamber.

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:40): It is appropriate to do it each year at budget time.

Mr Hockey: This is budget time!

Mr SWAN: Exactly, and I have just said to you that we will not need to lift our debt limit this financial year or next financial year. I have made that point and that should be sufficient. But if he is very interested in this, he can go to the AOFM website and go through the material. They are regularly briefing the market about issuance. They are doing all of those things and that is where this is appropriately done.

But what is this all really about? What this is about is that they are just acutely embarrassed about the fact that this Labor government had the guts to come out and say that we would have to have a deficit this year to support jobs and growth. We have had the guts to say that because that is the responsible thing to do in our economy.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order and refer you to page 566 of the Practice

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Mackellar has the right to make the point of order.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I refer you to page 566 of the Practice where it says that should a minister be unable to answer a substantive question and give a substantive answer, as the Treasurer has clearly indicated he is unable to do, he should undertake to come back with the information or else be sat down.

The SPEAKER: The member for Mackellar will resume her seat.

Mr SWAN: Thank you, Speaker. I was just pointing out that in the Liberal Party's world there is no level of responsible debt. Their approach to our current situation is that they would take an axe to health and education and an axe to jobs in our economy. Just because the global economy has taken an axe to our budget, that does not mean to say that we should take an axe to jobs and health and education in this economy. That is clearly what they would do, and that is the approach that they advocated during the global financial crisis. They said that we should not have a responsible level of debt to support jobs and growth in our economy and they would have seen this economy go into recession. They would not have had the guts to do what we did when we were faced with that set of circumstances.

We have been faced with a new set of circumstances and we have responded in a responsible way. We responded in this way because we on this side of the House understand how important employment and job security is to all Australians wherever they live. Those on that side of the House are just playing from the playbook of the Tea Party in the United States. There is no level of responsible debt in the views of those people. In the views of those extremists and some people over there, there is no level of responsible debt and therefore when you hit a bump in the economy, when something happens globally, you do not do anything to support your economy. You take an axe to it.

That is something this government will never do. Everyone over here is really proud of what we are doing to support jobs and growth. Those opposite would do directly the opposite. They would slash and cut and burn and follow the Campbell Newman approach and cut jobs right across our economy. That is not the Australian way.