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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 156


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:55): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's comment in May 2012 with regard to debt ceiling legislation. He said then:

The Government should be forced to specifically justify this, not to just sweep it under the carpet …

Given what was said then, Prime Minister, why won't the government come clean with the Australian people, release the budget update and specifically justify why you are increasing the debt cap to half a trillion dollars?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:55): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. The budget update will be released as part of the MYEFO in mid-December, which is roughly the time when members opposite released MYEFO in years past. It is very simple. We are dealing with a mountain of debt which members opposite left as their legacy. We are dealing with Labor's legacy of debt and deficit. We want to rule a line under this embarrassing period in our fiscal history and get on with the job of paying back Labor's debt and eliminating Labor's deficit. That is what the Australian public elected us to do. That is what we will do. I would humbly and respectfully ask the Leader of the Opposition to allow the people's mandate to be worked out in this parliament.

Mr Shorten: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Prime Minister indicated to the House that the former government only released MYEFO in December—

The SPEAKER: On the point of order: I am sorry, this is argument; it is not a point of order. There is no point of order. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. I call the Leader of the House.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I am sure you have this under control, of course, but the Leader of the Opposition, being so new to opposition, maybe does not understand that if he wants to make such claims he should make them at the end of question time and seek to deal with misrepresentations, not take them as points of order, which can only be on relevance.

The SPEAKER: Thank you, Leader of the House. I pointed out to the Leader of the Opposition that it was not a point of order he was raising. Whether or not he chooses to raise it at another point of time is a matter for him. We will return to question time.