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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14628


Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (14:28): My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer confirm that page 159 of Budget Paper No. 2 shows that energy payments will cost $284 million? Can the Treasurer also confirm that, this morning, the government introduced a bill which states that it will cost $365 million, an $81 million blowout in 24 hours? Doesn't this prove that, after six years of cuts and chaos under this Liberal government, the Treasurer's con job has fallen apart before the ink was even dry on the budget papers?

Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongThe Treasurer) (14:29): It's like being hit with a wet lettuce, Mr Speaker! At the end of the day, what we have done is provide energy assistance payments to people who need them most. We have done that from a strong budget position. We acknowledge the cost-of-living pressures that people are under. But I can also tell the House that we have announced a budget surplus, and that when it comes to our previous forecasts, we have outperformed them. When it came to the 2016-17 year we outperformed the forecasts in the final budget outcome by $4 billion. When it came to the 2017-18 final budget outcome we outperformed by $19.3 billion.

But when the member for Lilley was running around doing budgets, he actually underperformed his own forecasts. Do you know by how much, Mr Speaker? It was by $80 billion!

Mr Morrison: Missed it by that much!

Mr FRYDENBERG: Missed it by that much! The member for McMahon likes to forget recent history, but let me remind him that after we got elected he went to the Press Club and he set some tests for the new coalition government. One of those tests was that we kept unemployment below 6¼ per cent. I can inform the member for McMahon that unemployment is 4.9 per cent!

There was another test that the member for McMahon set—that we have a AAA credit rating. I can inform the member for McMahon that we have a AAA credit rating! And another test that he set was that we would be in the top 10 countries of the world for economic performance. I can tell the member for McMahon that we're in the top 10 countries of the world for economic performance!

But he also set another test, and that other test was that we set a tax-to-GDP ratio of 23.7 per cent. We are, according to the budget papers, at 23.3 per cent! But do you know what, Mr Speaker? This is the hypocrisy of the Labor Party, because when they were puffing their chests with their union mates at the national conference last year they said that there is no need anymore for a tax-to-GDP ratio, 'Forget a speed limit on taxes; we will increase taxes and that won't have any impact on the economy.' So the member for McMahon has no credibility. He went to the Press Club, he set tests for us and we have met those tests. These are tests that he won't even hold himself to account on.