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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14887


Mr BUCHHOLZ (WrightAssistant Minister for Roads and Transport) (15:54): On indulgence, before I talk about our outline for our plan for the future and how it contrasts with those who sit opposite and seek to run our country, I'd first like to associate myself with the words of the member for Sturt. I have learnt a lot from the member for Sturt in his time. His comment that there are some appalling people in this place is apt. Do you know what? We learn from those people. We learn from those people on how we don't want to conduct ourselves. The member for Sturt's understanding and knowledge of the standing orders is nothing short of inspirational. He is a 26-year veteran of this place. He has maintained his humour, his sharp edge, his 'lovable larrikin' persona. He has cut through with virtually every demographic of the Australian public. I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do. His contribution to this place is noteworthy.

I now come to the upcoming election and the MPI before us today around changing Australia. Who do we trust to run the budget as we move into the future? Someone who can produce a $7.1 billion surplus. We've heard other speakers talk about the last time Labor produced a surplus—and it's been some time. The bleeding-heart excuses come out: 'Oh, there was a GFC.' But the reality is that you need to have fiscal discipline to be able to bring about surpluses. The Australian public know that the best side of this House to manage future surpluses is the coalition side. We are renowned for coming in after Labor and fixing up their mess and getting us back into place. I want to address this as briefly as I can for those in the gallery. You'll hear rhetoric from the other side that we've come in and doubled the deficit.

Ms Butler interjecting

Mr BUCHHOLZ: Doubled the debt—I thank the member for Griffith. When you take the Treasury books, there are contracts that the privilege of government will sign into, and they'll be contracts for up to four years. We took office in 2013. When you come into government—whichever side it is—there is expenditure that has been committed to, so you are locked in. In 2013 we were committed to expenditure because we inherited poor mistakes from those on the other side. During this campaign, you will hear those on the other side say that we have doubled the deficit. I want you to understand why that came about. The member for Swan was an electrician before he came here. Another bloke here has got country in western New South Wales. That bloke up there, the member for Moore, is a land developer. They're all businesspeople. They run balance sheets. They know what it's like to lie awake in bed at night knowing they've got a wages bill to meet the next morning.

So you're trying to contrast who's got the best plan for Australia—those with the skill set on this side or those on the other side. Those on the other side are openly not necessarily business oriented people, so they'll play the big game. I take you back to the last election: those on the other side said that we were going to sell Medicare. There will be other claims made by those on the other side as we go into the upcoming election. There will be scare campaigns. They will absolutely come, and they will be thick and they will be fast.

The Australian public, when we go into this election, will have the very clear choice to trust a government that has a proven economic benefit. We have a plan for Australia, we have a plan for infrastructure and we have a plan for families. You'll hear those on the other side talk about cuts to hospitals. When those on the other side left office in 2013, they were spending $69 million on Moreton Bay District Hospital in my area. Today, we spend $140 million—just on double that amount of money—and it is forecast to go to $210 million. (Time expired)