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Monday, 21 May 2012
Page: 4746


Ms O'NEILL (Robertson) (14:24): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. How is the government's budget helping to spread the benefits of the mining boom to small business and Australian families?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:24): I thank the member for her question, because the fact is that our economy is now something like seven per cent bigger than it was prior to the global financial crisis. We should recall that many other developed economies have not even got back to where they were prior to the global financial crisis. So growing around trend but also coming back to surplus does give the Reserve Bank of Australia in particular greater flexibility when it comes to the setting of monetary policy, and that is a very good thing.

In addition to putting in place all of our plans to grow the economy, we also want to spread the opportunities of our economy around every corner of our country. We grow the economy, we grow the pie but we also do that to spread opportunity. In particular, given the fact that we have a mining boom, this budget was an opportunity to spread some of those benefits right around our economy to many of those people who do not feel like they are in the fast lane of the mining boom, to those people who feel like it is somebody else's boom. That is why we have put in place very substantial assistance to 1.5 million lower-income families. That is why we have put in place the new schoolkids bonus that the minister was talking about before. It was incredibly opposed by those opposite. How could you oppose an existing measure which really gives cost of living relief to families when they need it?

They come in here and talk cost of living all the time, but suddenly it disappears when it is the cost of kids going back to school. Then it is not a matter for them to be concerned about. They do not care. They simply do not get it. They really do not get it when it comes to growing our economy. They certainly do not get it when it comes to cost of living pressures on families, particularly those for people who are trying to educate a couple of kids. But they also do not get it when it comes to tax reform and relief for small business. Our loss carry back is a very important initiative. They also voted in this House against the $6,500 instant asset write-off that is going to be so important to up to 2.7 million small businesses right across our country.

But where they really do not get it—and I think this is where we had a real clanger from the shadow Treasurer during the week—is where it comes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. They can give a tax cut to Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart, but they cannot support disabled Australians in our community. We heard the truth about that from the shadow Treasurer. They are happy to see people in a wheelchair go to the back of the queue, but they are happy to put Clive and Gina at the front of the queue.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, the last statement by the Acting Prime Minister was, (1), un-prime ministerial and, ( 2), a slur on all members of this side of the House. I ask that it be withdrawn.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: We have had difficulty with groups being slurred and asking for withdrawals, so I am not going to seek it at this time.

Mr Pyne: I take offence personally that the Acting Prime Minister would slur me in terms of my regard for people with disabilities. I would ask for it to be withdrawn.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: For the assistance of the House I do ask the Acting Prime Minister to withdraw.

Mr SWAN: I withdraw.