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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1629


Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (14:24): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer please outline the importance of fixing the budget and what are the hurdles standing in the way?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:25): I thank the honourable member for Ryan for that question. As the member for Ryan knows and as the people of Brisbane know, and as the people of Queensland and the people of Australia know, it is vitally important that we as a nation live within our means. This Thursday we will be releasing the Intergenerational report, which will illustrate what are believed to be the demographics of the next 40 years of Australia. And it is exciting. It is exciting that we should live longer—we all want to live longer, and we also want to have a decent quality of life along the way.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HOCKEY: Well, some people in the Labor Party obviously struggle with the thought of living longer, and I suggest that some of their constituents might have that view about them as well. The fact is that we are living longer and we want to have a good quality of life. Importantly, the Intergenerational report represents a compact between the generations. It is an agreement between grandparents and parents, between children and grandchildren and our generation to ensure that we can afford the future, that we can pay for the health care, the aged care and the education and all the things we desperately need.

The starting point has to be right here and now. We need to start living within our means. As a result of the legacy of Labor, we were left with a daily debt that accrued at over $100 million a day. So every single day, as a result of Labor's actions, we had to borrow $100 million just to pay the daily bills as a government. That is clearly not sustainable. If the government have to keep borrowing $100 million a day just to pay the daily bills—and a large chunk of that has to come from people living overseas who are lending us the money—sooner or later we end up with debt levels that allow the bankers of the world to be in control of our destiny rather than for us to be in control of our destiny.

What is the solution? The solution is that we need to be able to get on with the job of fixing the mess that Labor created. And we have gone a long way.

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member of Wakefield may have moved his seat, but his interjections are no less palatable. He will desist!

Mr HOCKEY: As the IGR will illustrate, we have come a long way along the path of fixing Labor's mess, but there is still much work to be done. We have not finished, because ultimately we have got to get the balance right. We have got to have a credible plan to get the budget back to surplus so that we as a nation can start to live within out means. At the same time, we need to be able to create an environment where business, and small business in particular, has the confidence to go out and employ more Australians. You cannot buy prosperity, but you can buy a better budget. And that is why Australians invest in the Liberal Party.