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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9098


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:05): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister guarantee a surplus of at least $1.5 billion this financial year and higher over the forward estimates, as promised in the budget just a few weeks ago?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:05): The government will bring the budget to surplus this financial year, as promised. We will update all of the budget figures in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, as is appropriate.

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:05): Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. How can the Prime Minister promise those surpluses, given her new promises of $2.1 billion on border protection, $10½ billion a year for an NDIS, new spending of $26 billion on schools and $36 billion on submarines? Prime Minister, where is the money coming from?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:06): I am more than a little amazed to get this question of all questions from the shadow Treasurer, who has admitted—even though he denies it now—that the opposition have a $70 billion costing problem, and their only way of fixing that is to slash health, slash education, slash support to families, because that is what Liberals do.

Unlike those opposite, who always have their eyes on slashing health—the Leader of the Opposition has form—and on slashing education—he has talked today about cutting funding to public schools—instead of taking that approach, we will continue to take the responsible approach which people have seen from us to date. As we have worked our way carefully through the government's budget, we have shown the ability to invest in the new instruments of fairness that Australians want, while bringing the budget to surplus. To give just one example, we found room in the federal government's budget for a billion dollars for the National Disability Insurance Scheme launch site. I take it from the shadow Treasurer's question that the opposition is now out and proud and opposed to the NDIS. Finally, they have come out and done that. We make the hard decisions to get these things done. You sit there with figures that will not add up and secret plans to cut health and education and support for families.

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:08): Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a further supplementary question. Will the Prime Minister now rule out the introduction of new taxes or levies or the increase of existing taxes and levies to pay for big new promises in education, NDIS, submarines and border protection?

Honourable members interjecting

Mr Hockey: So you are going to increase taxes—yes or no?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Order! When the House is silent—the member for Cook promised better behaviour today.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:08): Once again, I am amazed to hear the shadow Treasurer shouting about carbon taxes, given that he is a very big supporter of putting a price on carbon, on the record—until he decided that for the purposes of appearance he had better pretend to be supporting the Leader of the Opposition. On the way in which we will fund the government's promises, let us be clear. We have a tax-to-GDP ratio which is less than the one we inherited from the other side—that is, we are a lower taxing government than the government that the shadow Treasurer was a member of, and we will continue to be a lower taxing government. As the shadow Treasurer would be well aware, I have already dealt with these questions about taxes and levies in relation to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. That is on the public record and no amount of—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order as to direct relevance. The Prime Minister was asked whether she would guarantee ruling out any new taxes or charges to pay for her spending.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms GILLARD: Money for people with disabilities and for schools described as a spending spree—how offensive! The person who was advocating a tax increase for the National Disability Insurance Scheme was Liberal Premier Campbell Newman and, as is a matter of public record, I disagreed with him. As is also a matter of public record, company tax will always be higher under those opposite than under us because of their tax on companies to pay for their paid parental leave scheme. Less tax, less company tax, a prudent budget, a surplus and a better deal for people with disabilities and better Australian schools— (Time expired)

Mr Pyne: And a unicorn!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Sturt is warned!