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Monday, 3 June 2013
Page: 4958


Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (16:58): I thank the member for Parramatta for that question. It is a very insightful one and it goes to the heart of what this budget has been about. The member for Parramatta is right to point to the strength of this government's economic record. If you compare the Australian economy today to where we were before the GFC, we are now 13 per cent larger. There is no advanced economy that has achieved growth levels throughout that period of 13 per cent. I hear those opposite regularly try and make the claim that this is a government that is not interested in growing the pie. Well, this pie is bigger than anyone else's pie in terms of the way it has grown over the last few years. It has grown and grown and is 13 per cent larger. Countries like the UK are not even back to zero, not even back to where they were in terms of the size of their economy before the GFC. We are now 13 per cent larger. So I will not be lectured by those opposite when it comes to questions of growth and growing the national pie. Our pie is certainly growing.

When it comes to jobs, I make the point that I have heard in recent times the Leader of the Opposition—and I know the member for Casey was pretty fixated on this question of pamphlets—and I might take the opportunity to reflect upon the Leader of the Opposition's pamphlet that seems to adorn him at every press conference. He stands up in front of the camera and brandishes this blue pamphlet—

Ms O'Dwyer: You should read it.

Mr BRADBURY: You should read it.

Ms O'Dwyer: You should read it.

Mr BRADBURY: In fact, you should read it. I think, when I read it last, it said: 'Interest rates will always be low. We will return the budget to surplus so that interest rates can be low.' The only problem with that argument is that the shadow Treasurer is out there saying, on the one hand, that interest rates are at emergency levels.

Ms O'Dwyer: Mr Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: this has nothing to do with the question that was put by the member for Parramatta.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Symon ): There is no point of order. The member for Higgins will resume her seat. The Assistant Treasurer.

Mr BRADBURY: This is relevant to both the member for Parramatta and the member for Casey. Stop denying your colleague the opportunity to have his questions answered. I am sure he wants to hear about his leader parading around with this ridiculous pamphlet at every opportunity. Somehow it is meant to add some credibility to his argument; standing in front of the camera with this pamphlet under his chin. The pamphlet tells you that they will return the budget to surplus faster than the government and, in doing that, they will get interest rates to be even lower than they are at the moment. Yet, when interest rates were cut on the most recent occasion, the shadow Treasurer was out there saying: 'This is terrible. Emergency lows. Interest rates are so low. The economy is tanking.' We are growing; we are 13 per cent larger.

On the question of jobs, the Leader of the Opposition said, 'In six years I will create a million jobs.' We have already done that. We have almost created a million jobs, 960,000 jobs in the last five and a half years. We have done that at a time when tens of millions of jobs have been lost around the global economy. The reason they do not want to talk about this is that when it actually came to the crunch, the global financial crisis, they were not prepared to walk up and support the stimulus measures that we put in place. And that will be forever a stain on their record when it comes to economic credibility. Without the stimulus that was provided—the sort of destruction that would have occurred in our labour market, the sort of destruction to capital that would have occurred, the sort that we would not yet have recovered from—there would be wreckage right across this country. In fact, as a result of what we managed to do, the economy has continued to grow and jobs have been created.

In framing this budget, we have taken the view that, whilst we have been able to bring about one of the biggest and fastest consolidations of federal finances—and the member opposite referred to what the deficit was in the previous year—of the sort that we never, ever saw when they were in office, and at the same time the economy continues to grow and we continue to create jobs. That is what we are about: jobs and growth.

At the same time the member for Parramatta makes the very salient point that it is not enough to just deliver an economy that has all of those strong fundamentals; it is about putting in place the long-term investments our country needs. She alluded to the fact that some opposite say that now is not the right time to do it. Do you know what? When they had what they considered to be the best of times, they never, ever made any of these investments. In fact, they squandered those opportunities; they did not invest in education, they did not invest in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. They squandered money and at the end of the day— (Time expired)