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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3260

Budget


Dr CHALMERS (Rankin) (14:22): My question is to the Prime Minister. Former Treasurer Peter Costello reckons he will be dead before the government pays back its debt. Can the Prime Minister confirm that since coming to office this government—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Rankin will resume his seat. Members on my right. The member for Deakin and the Leader of the House will cease interjecting. The member for Rankin will begin his question again.

Dr CHALMERS: My question is to the Prime Minister. Former Treasurer Peter Costello reckons he will be dead before the government pays back its debt. Can the Prime Minister confirm that his government, since coming to office, has increased gross debt by nearly $10,000 for every man, woman and child in Australia?




Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:23): I thank the honourable member for his question. It does have a great nostalgic resonance to it. The honourable member was formerly chief of staff to the then Treasurer, the member for Lilley—the world's greatest Treasurer; the king of debt himself! While the member for Rankin was carefully helping the member for Lilley to manage the finances of the nation—

Dr Chalmers interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Rankin.

Mr TURNBULL: they were responsible for failures in border protection, including a $14 billion blowout; failing to keep our borders secure; a school halls program that wasted $8 billion; a pink batts program that cost lives and also wasted $2.4 billion—

Dr Chalmers interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Rankin is warned.

Mr TURNBULL: the 16,000 stimulus cheques for $900 to people who were deceased, and 27,000 to people living overseas, presumably to stimulate economic activity outside of Australia. There was a $1.4 billion blowout—

Dr Chalmers interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume his seat for a second. I know the member for Rankin is trying to get some practice in after a bit of a break. I've warned him. He may want to go to the lock-up a little early. I'm happy to facilitate.

Dr Chalmers: Now?

The SPEAKER: No, not so soon. I know you're keen, but you're well and truly warned.

Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: And the member for McEwen won't be let into the lock-up, I'm sure, so there's no need for him to interject.

Mr TURNBULL: There was an $850 million blowout in the solar homes program. There was one financial fiasco after another under the Labor government, in which the member for Rankin played a key part as the top adviser to the member for Lilley as Treasurer—the Treasurer who we all recall announcing four surpluses. Sadly for the nation, he didn't deliver one. There is no group of people in Australia less qualified to lecture any of us on debt and deficit than the Labor Party. The last Labor Party surplus was delivered in 1989.

The SPEAKER: Is this a question? Yes, it is the Independents' question.

Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: I'm just very fair, as you know, Rob. I can observe that.