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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1967

Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (16:34): It has become clear this afternoon that the Treasurer bear hugs the Greens that the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection rejects. On one day we have on one side of the chamber the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection rejecting the Greens and talking about all the heinous things the Greens do. The minute those opposite need to get a deal through they suddenly welcome the Greens with open arms and cannot believe that they have got the opportunity to do this type of deal. It is unbelievable for the Greens to think that this will lead to a bold new era of transparency. I would hate to actually have them, by their own actions, reinforce the view that that they are economic fringe dwellers—but their own actions will do that if they think this government is committed to transparency.

There was a simple proposition extended by us to those opposite, to those in government, which was we will support an increase in the debt ceiling to $400 billion. If those opposite want to go beyond that then be transparent, table MYEFO and let the public know the state of the books. That was the simple test of transparency that they refused to meet. When will they table MYEFO? They will table it next week. When? After the Australian parliament goes into recess for the break. The Greens are all after transparency but not if it actually involves the most official document, which is MYEFO.

This is not really about transparency, this is not about being upfront, this is not about having a conversation—that well worn phrase—with people about debt; this is about one thing and one thing only. It is about Joe Hockey, the Treasurer, avoiding coming back here to explain that all the bravado and all of the bluster that they engaged in pre-election cannot be matched by post election performance. They are unable to demonstrate why, when they said that if debt is the problem then more debt is not the answer, they cannot deliver a strain of logic that actually says why this is the case.

While the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer has to sit here on his own, defending the case of the government, it is very hard—and I am sure he could come up with lots of reasons. In fact, I reckon he could come up with 93 reasons that could try and help him justify this deal to the parliament! He is unable to, because they all know, with a red face—

An opposition member: Don't pick on Barnaby.

Mr HUSIC: I will not pick on the agriculture minister. But, frankly, they know what we know and had to deal with for quite some time: national incomes across the globe are contracting. Economies are not growing. Monetary policy is not giving the same kick that it once did. As a result, budgets come under pressure—as ours have for many years, and as they know theirs will, which is why they will not release MYEFO. So, in an effort to avoid actually admitting to people that their bluster before the election on surpluses—because remember, Madam Speaker, those on that side of the chamber made a commitment that they would get to surplus in one year—

Mr Mitchell interjecting

Mr HUSIC: One year, they said, Member for McEwen. They said they would get to surplus in one year. And when did they ditch that promise? They ditched it in the quiet of January this year. When no-one was really paying attention, they moved away.

Mr Bowen: They meant 'one year' like 'one day'.

Mr HUSIC: One year, one day—

Ms Rowland: Like dog years!

Mr HUSIC: Exactly—it gets measured in a quantum that we mere mortals cannot understand! But they have been dragged to economic realism, and yet they will not be up-front with people about the reasons they need to increase the debt ceiling. It is outrageous that, in this last-ditch effort, as the shadow Treasurer indicated, their way of getting rid of debt is to lift the debt ceiling. It is preposterous logic. It does not sit at all well with the rhetoric used before the election, and they should be explaining fully why they are going to this position. And they should not just back it up with words. They should back it up with the numbers contained in MYEFO, and they should do it this week.