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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7132

Carbon Pricing

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:13): My question is to the Treasurer. I remind the Treasurer of the statement of Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd that:

We are now seeing that the economy is not as great as it looked.

I remind him of the statement of Toll Holdings chairman Ray Horsburgh that:

There is a general reluctance to spend money.

Will the Treasurer immediately help restore confidence by rescinding the five per cent increase in the carbon tax from next Monday?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:14): I do thank the shadow Treasurer for that Dorothy Dixer. Growth in our economy is solid—growth of 0.6 for the quarter and 2.5 per cent for the year. We have a very strong and solid investment pipeline. In the past three years we have seen the creation of 500,000 jobs—one million jobs in the time that the government have been in power. There has been a surge in investment. All of these things indicate an economy which is in good shape—14 per cent bigger than it was at the end of 2007, eight per cent bigger in the last three years alone.

Of course, there are challenges in our economy and we are an economy which is in transition. But one of the reasons that we are in a position of strength to handle those transitions is due to what this government did to handle the global financial crisis. Because we handled it so well, we did not suffer the very high levels of unemployment and capital destruction that occurred right around the world. If those opposite had had their way, this would not have happened and Australia would have suffered massively high unemployment and capital destruction.

The Leader of the Opposition could not even walk into this parliament to vote in a critical vote that stopped this country from going into recession.

Mr Hockey: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I asked the Treasurer: will he rescind the five per cent increase in the carbon tax which starts next Monday? Will he do it?

The SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney will resume his seat. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: We on this side of the House are proud of what we have done with an emissions trading scheme and carbon pricing—absolutely proud. In the time that carbon pricing has been operating, 150,000 jobs have been created in Australia. So you can come into this House, as you do, every day, every week, every month, every year and talk our economy down, but on this side of the House we will take the decisions for the future—the decisions to invest and to make sure that we have a fiscal policy which supports growth and jobs.

If those opposite had been in power when the last budget was brought down, we would have seen them bring in European style austerity policies. They would have taken an axe to spending, particularly in health and education. But they come into this House every day and say that we are spending too much, and they will not say where they are going to cut to the bone if they are elected.

They hide behind a commission of audit—the formula of Premier Newman in Queensland. That will not wash with the Australian people. On this side of the House, we will always support jobs and growth because we understand how important jobs are to the livelihood and living standards of all Australians. When the acid was on, where were those opposite? They went missing and the Leader of the Opposition missed five votes in this House—the critical votes which saved our economy from recession. They are simply unfit for high office.