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Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Page: 4198


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:02): My question is to the Prime Minister. Why is the Prime Minister choosing to give large multinationals and high-income earners a tax cut while he is cutting $5,000 a year from a typical family budget, including their family payments?

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Before I call the Prime Minister, the level of interjection on my right was far too high. The member for Deakin and the member for Lyons will cease interjecting, amongst others.

Ms Plibersek: That's a good example!

The SPEAKER: The member for Sydney will not interject when I am trying to bring the House to order.

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:03): My government's national economic plan is setting Australia up to take advantage of the enormous opportunities on offer in this dynamic global environment of the 21st century. A strong budget is a critical part of that plan.

If we want to support jobs and growth in the 21st century—strong growth for all Australians; great jobs for our children and grandchildren, in the years ahead—if we want to have the room to make smart investments in our future prosperity, we need to make sure we have our finances under control. It is vital that plans be credible and that we get those calls right.

Labor made the wrong calls. The budget under Labor was in structural deficit every year. They accumulated more than $190 billion in deficits during office. We went from having negative net debt—that is, cash in the bank—to net debt of billions of dollars. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Labor Party implemented a mining tax that raised no money. They spent the proceeds anyway, increasing the burden of deficits and debt. Labor has learned nothing from its failures in government.

Yesterday, Australians learned that Labor has got its sums disastrously wrong again—a nearly $20 billion costing hole in its tobacco excise revenue. I know that some honourable members opposite have described $20 billion as a rounding error. I can assure honourable members that on this side of the House we regard that as an enormous amount of money. There are a few things it could buy. It could buy more than a full year of federal hospitals' funding or more than a full year of schools' funding. It could finish the duplication of the Pacific Highway.

The member for McMahon, the shadow Treasurer—the man who would be the Treasurer again—knew his sums were wrong. After the PBO warned him their costings were prepared before updated figures were represented in MYEFO, he said, in February, in line with a prudent and conservative, fiscal approach, 'Labor resubmits its policies for costing following budget updates.' He ignored those warnings. Indeed, he kept on talking about the $47.7 billion that the increase in tobacco excise would raise. He has abandoned any semblance of fiscal responsibility.

Unlike those opposite, we know a sustainable budget is absolutely critical: jobs and growth, economic growth, a 21st century economy. That is what we are building with the budget tonight.

Mr Pyne: Where's Jenny Macklin?

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will cease interjecting.

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my right will cease interjecting.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table an article by Heath Aston that establishes everything the Prime Minister just said is wrong.

Leave not granted.

The SPEAKER: The level of interjections is far too high on both sides.

Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Hunter will cease interjecting. The member for Isaacs and the member for Parramatta have been interjecting continually. They were warned yesterday. They are warned again now, and I caution the member for Sydney and the member for McMahon, who might get the opportunity to go to the budget lock-up a bit early if he keeps interjecting.