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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 129


Mr VASTA (Bonner) (14:04): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister advise the House of the importance of economic leadership in building Australia's prosperity—in particular, the role of government in showing the discipline to live within your means?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:04): I thank the honourable member for his question. The coalition took to the election a clear economic plan which set out a road map to boost investment and generate jobs and growth. It provides opportunities for the enterprising men and women of Australia to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that are available to us today. It enables our children and our grandchildren to inherit a more prosperous Australia that is built on fairness and opportunity for all. But we cannot secure that economic prosperity unless we face up to the real challenges that confront us, especially the challenge of bringing our budget back into balance. We cannot keep living beyond our means.

The Australian people have endorsed our economic plan and returned us to the treasury bench. We must now work to address the moral challenge of budget repair. And this is a moral issue. This is an issue of intergenerational equity. For how long are we going to live on the credit cards of our children and grandchildren? That is what we are doing at the moment. We have to address that. And we have set out a road map to do that in our economic plan. These difficult decisions have been deferred and delayed over the years. We have to find a way to come together, to find common ground, or we risk saddling future generations with mounting debt.

Like the family budget, the government budget can only stretch so far. Households know that you cannot keep going to the bank to pay the bills; you have to look at whether every dollar you are spending is being spent wisely. Every member and every senator has a responsibility to support the task of budget repair. Failing to do so betrays our children and grandchildren. It will undermine and put at risk our AAA credit rating. Maintaining that rating is important; it underpins the cost of borrowing right across the economy.

Now this morning we took another important step on the road to budget repair, when the Treasurer introduced into the House the omnibus savings bill. It not only includes savings of more than $6 billion, it represents savings that the opposition supported during the election, and we call on the opposition to stay true to their word by supporting this bill and the measures within it, which are all of critical importance. Only a strong economy—a strong budget position—can ensure Medicare, schools, pensions, and all the other services that Australians expect from their government. Only a strong budget position secures them, provides them, guarantees them into the future.

The SPEAKER: Just before I call the Leader of the Opposition, the level of interjections is already fairly high. I caution the member for Jagajaga; I did not want to interrupt Prime Minister. The member for Jagajaga is continually interjecting, as are some others. I call the Leader of the Opposition.