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Monday, 3 June 2013
Page: 4961

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (17:07): Of course the Treasurer has always been responsible in all of his actions, and this is a responsible budget—not only a responsible budget that ensures that we are promoting jobs and growth but also a responsible budget that makes the necessary investments in the future. That is of critical importance, because when people look at the strength of the Australia economy compared to other advanced economies, one of the things that they focus in on is the fact that we have been growing. If we want to be able to continue to grow into the future, we need to be investing in education. There is no greater productivity-enhancing agenda than to invest in education. That is one of the aspects of this budget that we are most proud of. Not only have we made space to invest in education but also we have invested in disability care to ensure that all Australians have access to an insurance scheme of the sort that they have not previously had access to when it comes to disability.

In terms of the questions that the member opposite poses, I find it interesting that in the context of a budget where there have been over $40 billion worth of savings, the member opposite has not chosen to ask about any of them. The reason why the member opposite has chosen to not ask about any of them is that this was such an impressive budget—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr BRADBURY: that those opposite have embraced all of the measures contained within it, certainly in relation to the savings measures. And I hear the chortling—and that is something that the members for Casey and Higgins do well; they chortle well—

Mr Fletcher interjecting

Mr BRADBURY: To the member for Bradfield: I have never seen you chortle in all the time I have been observing you.

Mr Fletcher interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Symon ): Order! There needs to be less conversation across the chamber.

Mr BRADBURY: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker Symon; I think it is important that we keep the members opposite on a tight leash. I think it is relevant that those opposite have not sought to talk about the savings measures because the Leader of the Opposition said that they were so effective and so impressive that they are seeking to—

Ms O'Dwyer: Mr Deputy Speaker Symon, on a point of order: I asked a very clear, very direct, very simple question which perhaps the Assistant Treasurer does not understand—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Higgins will resume her seat. There is no point of order.

Mr BRADBURY: Not only have the opposition not entertained questions around savings measures; equally, they have sought to avoid questions around monetary policy and interest rates. It does not surprise me at all that they would avoid these questions. Having run many an election campaign saying that interest rates would always be lower under the Liberal Party—we all remember that, the 2004 campaign in particular—we now find ourselves with interest rates that are lower than they ever were under the Liberal Party and, all of a sudden, they want to tell us that low interest rates are not a good thing; they are a bad thing. I want them to tell that to the families out in the community with mortgages of $300,000 who are paying $5½ thousand a year less in interest repayments as a result of the cuts to interest rates. Those cuts have ensured that benefits have flowed to families right around our community. Those who once proclaimed themselves the party of low interest rates—they even champion them in that silly little pamphlet I was talking about earlier—come forward, now that the interest rates are cut, and talk about how terrible this is because the economy is tanking. Record-low interest rates are now a bad thing.

There are those of us who have memories long enough to know we have heard it all before, and we will continue to make long-term investments in the economy, because, if we want a stronger economy, a smarter nation and a fairer society, these are the sort of things we will need to do. (Time expired)