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Monday, 20 October 2008
Page: 9521

Ms JULIE BISHOP (2:13 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the comments from the head of the Australian Industry Group, Heather Ridout, last Friday:

The information behind the decision-making process in government is crucial to our members as they seek to make proper decisions and judgements about how to steer their business through this storm.

Will the Prime Minister immediately release the information behind the decision-making process that led to the government’s announcements last week so that business can get on with making proper decisions and judgements?

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —First and foremost, the government stands behind its Economic Security Strategy as announced last week, as the government stands behind—unequivocally, as opposed to those opposite—the statements made by me on behalf of the government the previous Sunday to provide guarantees to depositors and to provide guarantees for term lending on the part of banks in order to unfreeze credit. We in the government have proposed these as concrete courses of action—decisions taken by the government, unequivocally supported by the government, as opposed to the ‘bob each way’ approach being adopted by those opposite. That is basically what it is—on the one hand a bit of a shuffle over here from the Leader of the Opposition saying, in a half spirit of small ‘b’ bipartisanship, yes in extremis; on the other hand, unleashing the various dogs of war on the part of those opposite to have a chip away at the housing policy, to have a chip away at pensioners and to have a chip away at family tax benefit A, and now we have a chip away at the actual underpinnings of the package.

I say to the member for Curtin that the underpinnings of this package are clear. Growth, as of when the government determined on the package, was projected ahead to be plus two; therefore the government decided on the basis of the revision downwards in growth in the IMF world forecast, on top of the collapse in consumer confidence in the world, that we needed an extra buffer for growth for the future. That is why we acted in the way in which we have done. We have done so decisively, and I would call on the member for Curtin, rather than having a bob each way—rather than being politically opportunistic one day and trying to be statespersonlike the next day—to get behind the government, because what this nation now needs is real bipartisanship, real consensus and real support, as opposed to walking both sides of the street, which those opposite have elevated from an art form into a science.