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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4009

Government Spending

Mr ROBB (Goldstein) (14:14): My question is to the Treasurer. Given the unprecedented levels of waste, debt and deficit we have seen from this government, does the Treasurer think it appropriate that the government is spending $145,000 to study sleeping snails; $340,000 to see if climate change is affecting fiddler crabs; $314,000 to see if birds are shrinking; and, last but not least, $578,000 to research an ignored credit interest instrument in Florentine economic, social and religious life from the 1500s?

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will not commence and the clock will not start until there is silence.

Mr Swan: If that is the opposition's full understanding of the economic challenges facing our nation—

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will wait until there is silence. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:15): We in this country have a $1.4 trillion economy, we have an unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent, we have a level of public debt lower than just about any other developed economy, and we have an investment pipeline in this country of $455 billion that is coming into this country to ensure that people are in employment and that our economic prospects are bright. At the height of the global financial crisis and the global recession we acted to support our economy—

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will return to the question.

Mr SWAN: Now we are putting in place very big economic reforms to make sure prosperity continues. And the opposition come into this House and ask questions like that. It just demonstrates what little appreciation they have of the economic challenges facing our nation.