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Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Page: 1402


Mr WILSON (O'Connor) (14:19): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline the budget and economic challenges facing the Australian economy over coming months? How will stability, consistency and honesty in economic policy help the constituents of O'Connor?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:20): I thank the member for O'Connor for his question. Our plan for a stronger economy is also well known. It has come through in some of the more recent data. We had some promising retail sales data come out today, which was above market expectations. Clearly there is hope out there that we are going to have a good Christmas for retail despite the best endeavours of Labor. We also had a pretty good Dun and Bradstreet business expectations survey—

Mr Champion interjecting

Mr Husic interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Chifley and the honourable member for Wakefield will be silent.

Mr HOCKEY: come out today which indicates that twice as many businesses intend to hire staff in the new year compared to the last few months of this year.

We had a very clear plan going to the election. We said we wanted to abolish the carbon tax to stimulate economic growth. We wanted to get rid of the mining tax—

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield is warned.

Mr HOCKEY: with its associated expenditure to reduce government expenditure by $13 billion and reduce the debt. We said we were going to get rid of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to reduce government debt. We also said that we were going to make the decisions that needed to be made to fix up the budget and start to live within our means.

Of course, we were left with a legacy from Labor of a $370 billion forecast peak debt, with a $300 billion debt limit. That is the way Labor are. Labor always leave their problems to other people. They are always inconsistent. They say one thing before an election and something else afterwards. There is no better instance of this—

An opposition member interjecting

Mr HOCKEY: Hang in there, China, I know you've only got three years to go!

Senator Kim Carr put out a press release saying that Labor was so committed to the education cuts before the election that they are going to oppose them after the election! Labor is going to oppose their own education cuts, which they took to the last election. You might say that that is pretty absurd, but before the election Labor said they were going to terminate the carbon tax. Now, after the election, they say that they are so going to terminate the carbon tax that they are going to block it! They are going to block the termination of the carbon tax. I thought to myself, 'Hang on, Labor is saying one thing before the election and then voting against it afterwards. Surely, Labor could not be inconsistent?' Then I picked up the new budget paper from the South Australian government. I looked at page 28, which says that the Labor government in South Australia is booking $32 million from the removal of the carbon tax. So Labor says one thing before the election and another thing afterwards. But don't worry, they will bank the money that does not exist.