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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2771


Ms MACKLIN (Jagajaga) (14:12): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to today's front-page story in The Sydney Morning Herald which refers to deep spending cuts in the Prime Minister's next budget. Will the Prime Minister rule out abolishing family tax benefit part B in his next budget, as recommended in the government's commission of audit, or does the Prime Minister still think that Australian families are leaners?

The SPEAKER: The latter part of the question will be ignored.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:13): I am very happy to talk about this government's progress at budget repair, because didn't our country need budget repair after six years of debt and deficit disaster put in place by members opposite, including the shadow minister who asked the question. Again, I refer the House to this very important document the Intergenerational report, which shows where our budget reposition was going under matters opposite. We were heading to Greek levels of debt and deficit. That is where we were going—Greek levels of debt and deficit.

Ms MACKLIN: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order on relevance.

The SPEAKER: The member will resume her seat. Members cannot fill their questions with commentary and then expect a direct relevance to be a pertinent point to raise.

Mr ABBOTT: We were going to—

Mr BURKE: I wish to raise a point of order. Unless I have misheard, you have just said that on some questions a direct relevance point of order cannot be raised. It is in the standing orders.

The SPEAKER: I did not say that at all. You did not listen. The member will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr ABBOTT: And, Madam Speaker, it is very easy to be directly relevant to a very broad-ranging question, which is what the shadow minister asked.

Ms Macklin interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Jagajaga will desist!

Mr ABBOTT: The Intergenerational report shows that we were heading to Greek levels of debt and deficit under the policies of members opposite. The Intergenerational report shows what we were seeking to do with last year's restructuring.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister does not use props.

Mr ABBOTT: It was to do in that budget a generation of budget repair that was absolutely needed after six years of budgetary chaos.

And the Intergenerational report shows what has already been achieved. Labor's debt and deficit has been halved. What that shows is that there is a very good foundation on which to build in this coming budget. That is why it will be a prudent, frugal and responsible budget, a budget which has good news for families, with an improved childcare package. It will have good news for small business, with a tax cut for small business, because we believe, unlike members opposite, that small business people are doing it tough and they need a break, and we want to give it to them because they are the creative people in our economy. So it will be frugal, prudent and responsible. It will build on this foundation.

The shadow minister should not believe everything she reads in the newspaper—that is where she does her research, obviously. She relies on the newspaper to do her research for her. No wonder they left our country in such a mess.