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Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Page: 12800

Prime Minister

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:02): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of her pre-election promise that there would be 'no carbon tax under a government I lead'. I also remind her that the very next day she promised that the budget would be in surplus this year, saying, 'no ifs no buts, it will happen'. Given that she is abandoning this commitment, why would anyone ever believe anything this Prime Minister says?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:03): From the Leader of the Opposition we see another new height in creativity as he tries to re-gear his carbon tax campaign, which even members of his own backbench know is running out of puff. On the question of the budget surplus, which apparently the opposition stumbled upon for the first time yesterday, having not bothered really with the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook at all, I say to the Leader of the Opposition: if he genuinely cares about budget accounting then he may want to explain to the Australian people why, during the whole time he has been Leader of the Opposition, he has not put out one properly costed policy, not one policy properly checked by Treasury—not once, not ever.

If he wants to be taken seriously on the question of the budget surplus then there is no better time than today to say that the opposition will fully comply with the Charter of Budget Honesty; that, instead of producing dodgy figures as they did at the last election, with an $11 billion black hole in their centre, they will get their figures properly costed. We know that what is holding them back is the $70 billion plan for cuts to services that they are currently hiding—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the question before the chair. The Prime Minister has the call, and she will be relevant to the question.

Ms GILLARD: On the question asked by the Leader of the Opposition, I answered it yesterday. We have just delivered the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. What that shows is that we have built on the billions of dollars of savings realised so far with more billions of dollars of savings. What the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook shows is a surplus. We stand by the figures in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and we are on track to deliver the surplus that the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook has contained within it.