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Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Page: 11007


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:57): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to a report just put up on the Australian Financial Review website that states:

Treasurer Wayne Swan has been tackled by four Labor MPs over the government's big-spending policy announcements and looming cuts to the federal public service.

Given that the government has a $120 billion black hole and that his own MPs are concerned about tax increases, will the government stop spending money and start coming to the truth with the Australian people about tax rises? (Time expired)

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:58): The figure that has been used by the Financial Review is wrong. It has no basis in reality. The only hole or crater in a budget bottom line is the $70 billion in the bottom line of those opposite. He has a lot of hide to come in here and ask us about tax. First of all, the Liberal Party is absolutely in favour of lifting the GST and broadening its base. That is point No. 1, made by the shadow Treasurer over there.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: the Treasurer's wheels are spinning but, quite frankly, the GST is not what he was asked about in that question by the shadow Treasurer. He should answer: where is the money coming from?

Mrs Mirabella interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Manager of Opposition Business is warned for the abuse of points of order.

Mr Albanese: I ask the member for Indi to withdraw.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Again, I must admit that I could not hear what the member for Indi said, but if she would like to assist the House I would ask her to withdraw. If she likes she can do it from her seat.

Mrs Mirabella: I withdraw.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank the member for Indi for her assistance to the House. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: This is what the shadow Treasurer had to say on 21 July:

If you are going to have a discussion about changing the GST the states have to lead the argument …

He is encouraging New South Wales and all his state colleagues to jack up the GST and campaign for it, whilst at the same time they are cutting services.

Honourable members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for North Sydney will resume his seat. In the midst of all that I was actually trying to ask the Treasurer to return to the question.

Mr SWAN: Deputy Speaker, I was asked about taxation. He has a lot of hide coming into the House and lecturing about taxation when he has a proposal to put up the company tax rate by 1.5 per cent—that is their Coles and Woolies tax—and when the opposition has come into this House and opposed tax relief for 2.7 million small businesses. They voted against assistance to people on low incomes—3.7 million of them—for their superannuation. They have also opposed the tripling of the tax-free threshold. That is where we stand when it comes to tax.

For our part, what we have said is that we will behave in a responsible way. We will bring our budget back to surplus in 2012-13. We will make our savings in a responsible way, in a way that supports jobs and economic growth. That stands in stark contrast to the approach of those on the other side, who want to go out and take the axe to large slabs of health and education and sack workers—hell, west and crooked. There is a very clear contrast for all Australians to see, based on our values of supporting community and their approach, which is simply scorched earth.