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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3399


Mrs McNAMARA (Dobell) (14:02): My question is to the Prime Minister. How will fixing the budget strengthen the economy to the benefit of Australian businesses and families?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:02): I thank the member for Dobell for her question, and I wish to reassure her and all members of this House that this government's absolute commitment is to build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia. We are scrapping bad taxes, we are building the roads of the 21st century, we are finalising free trade agreements with our major trading partners, and we are restoring a sustainable budget surplus by ending Labor's waste. And isn't it so necessary to end Labor's waste? Because this government's fiscal inheritance was cumulative deficits of $123 billion over the forward estimates period—that is 123 thousands of millions of dollars and a projected debt of $667 billion—thousands of millions of dollars.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs will desist.

Mr ABBOTT: Labor's projected debt was going to be $23,000 for every Australian man, woman and child—that is the credit card bill for every Australian man, woman and child that the Leader of the Opposition wanted to leave us with. This government understands that you cannot fix the economy unless you fix the budget, and a stronger budget means lower taxes and more jobs. We were very up-front with the Australian people before the election: the schoolkids bonus would go, the income support bonus would go, because you cannot give what you have not got, and you cannot give away to people what you just cannot afford. And Labor's mining tax, which is supposed to support $13 billion worth of spending, was raising just $300 million. That is why these things simply cannot be afforded. We have had $20 billion in savings before the Senate—$15 billion of coalition savings, $5 billion in Labor savings—and Labor is against all of it. They just do not get it. I say that no country can ever spend its way out of economic trouble, and no government can ever spend money it has not raised.

Ms Plibersek interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Sydney will desist!

Dr Chalmers interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Rankin is warned.

Mr ABBOTT: Tough decisions are coming, but they are necessary decisions for the prosperity of our country. We will keep our commitments, and the most fundamental commitment of all is to restore the budget.