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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5886

Mr HOCKEY (2:30 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to the government’s claim that its massive debt burden is responsible for job creation and has nothing at all to do with rising interest rates. Will the Treasurer now release all Treasury modelling that is used to justify his claims that this huge taxpayer debt is supporting jobs?

Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —I thank the shadow Treasurer for his question. He is acutely embarrassed by the jobs performance of our stimulus package. It is playing a vital role in supporting employment in the Australian economy. Both he and the Leader of the Opposition were acutely embarrassed when the national accounts figures came out the week before last, because what they showed was that it was our stimulus that was promoting growth, employment and business in the Australian community.

When you listen to the shadow Treasurer, you would think that there was some alternative. We have this dishonest campaign about deficits and borrowing when the truth is that we know that they would borrow not one cent less than us and that they would not pay it back one day earlier. We know that. Last Sunday week, there was an embarrassing performance by the shadow Treasurer with Laurie Oakes. Laurie Oakes asked him this:

But, if you’d been in government, you also would have lost $210 billion from your forward estimates wouldn’t you? So, do you concede that you would have had to borrow that amount if you were in government?

The shadow Treasurer replied:

No way Laurie, no way.

What a completely ridiculous claim: ‘There’s no global recession; it has no impact on the revenues. No way, Laurie; no loss of revenue at all.’ Laurie Oakes went on to ask him this very obvious question:

So you’d be spending $210 billion less over that period?

The shadow Treasurer replied:

No, no, not at all.

Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. The question very specifically asked whether the Treasurer would release the Treasury modelling that they use to justify their job creation claims. Even the Treasurer must recognise that his answer is ranging a long way from the question that he was asked.

The SPEAKER —The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The preamble of the question related to debt levels, job creation and interest rates.

Mr SWAN —Exactly. And it relates to the level of borrowings that this government has had to make responsibly to support our economy and to support employment in the middle of a global recession. Mr Oakes said:

So you’d be spending $210 billion less over that period?

Hockey said:

No, no, not at all.

So there would be no global recession, they would have less deficit and debt and they would be able to do that without spending a cent less. Talk about a magic pudding!

The truth is that we have had to borrow responsibly to cover the revenue collapse brought on in this country—imposed on this country—by a global recession and to support employment to give us the outcomes that we got in the national accounts the week before last and to give us the consumer confidence figures that the Prime Minister was talking about before.

Mr Hockey —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. I just asked the Treasurer to release the basis of his claims. Just release it; he uses it all the time. Just release it.

The SPEAKER —The member for North Sydney will resume his seat. As I suggested to the member for Sturt, the Treasurer is responding to the question.

Mr SWAN —What we saw in the embarrassment on Laurie Oakes’s program is that there is no alternative policy. None of them—not one of the entire frontbench—has an alternative policy. All they have is a dishonest scare campaign about deficit and debt. It is about time that they came clean and admitted that if they were in government they would have to borrow as much as the government has had to borrow to support employment in the Australian economy. But they are so opportunistic. They are so concerned with their own political futures that they are not concerned with the national interest. We published for everybody to see in our budget all of our figures; all of our estimates. Because they are inconvenient for their fake political position, they cannot wear them.

On this side of the House, we are proud of the budget that we brought down. We are proud of the role that it is playing in supporting employment. There are 200,000 more Australians in employment as a consequence of our budget. That is 200,000-plus people in employment who would not have been in employment if it had not been for our budget. That is their embarrassment; that is what they cannot admit to. That is why their dishonest campaign is there for everybody to see.