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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3518


Mr HAYES (Fowler) (15:06): Thank you, Speaker. My question is to the Prime Minister. What role does responsibility and transparent fiscal policy play in making Australia stronger, smarter and fairer?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:06): I thank the member for Fowler for his question. I am asked about transparent and responsible fiscal policy. Of course, this is budget week and this is the week in which the government makes its choices for the Australian nation clear through our budget, and we have done that—our choices to make the nation stronger, smarter and fairer. People can look at the documents, people can assess our choices and they can agree with them or disagree with them, but they are transparent for all to see.

Of course, budget week is not just about the government's budget and responsible and transparent fiscal policy is not just about the government's budget; it is also about the alternatives put forward in this parliament by the opposition, particularly by the Leader of the Opposition tonight. I would like to endorse words spoken in this parliament on 14 May 2003. These were words spoken about the then opposition leader's reply to the budget. The quote is as follows:

When he gives his response to the budget tomorrow night, he needs to tell us exactly what he would do. If the tax cut was not enough, how much would he add to it? Once he has told us how much he would add to it, he then needs to tell us what he would cut to pay for it.

… he should tell us exactly where it is coming from and he should tell us exactly what will be cut to pay for any increase in spending that he proposes.

Words spoken in this parliament in 2003, words I specifically endorse, words spoken by the Leader of the Opposition. That is his test tonight that was set by him. It is a test he should pass. It is not a test he can quibble with because he said it himself. What does his test for his reply mean—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Speaker—

Ms GILLARD: I see the protection racket has started. Here we go.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat. The member for Mackellar on a point of order.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Speaker, this is question time, not lecture time. To be directly relevant it needs to be relevant directly to the question asked, which it clearly is not. She is quite out of order.

The SPEAKER: The member for Mackellar will resume her seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: This is a time for questions and it is a time for answers. The Leader of the Opposition, having set his own test for his budget reply tonight, must certainly do this. If he endorses DisabilityCare, does he endorse every saving to pay for it and, if not, what are the alternate saves? Does he endorse our plan for school improvement? If not, does he take the responsibility of cutting half a million dollars off every Australian school? What is he going to do? What is he going to cut to fill the $70 billion black hole the shadow Treasurer revealed on morning television? What will be used to fill that black hole? If he is not taking the money off the mining revenue, what will be cut to make up for that $5.5 billion? If he is not taking the revenue from the carbon tax, what will be cut to make up that loss of revenue? What is on the chopping block—health, education, pensions or family payments? The real answer is all of it, and the Leader of the Opposition should detail every cut tonight, every cut to the bone. With those words, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.