Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Page: 11433


Mr SYMON (Deakin) (14:11): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer update the House on the response of global ratings agencies to the strong fundamentals of our economy? Why is it important to represent the facts about our economy accurately?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:12): I thank the member for Deakin for his question because I was asked about the strength of our economy and the fact that Standard & Poor's have reaffirmed our gold-plated AAA credit rating with a stable outlook. This is what Standard & Poor's had to say:

The AAA rating is underpinned by low public debt and strong fiscal discipline.

We are proud on this side of the House that we have that rating from the three major ratings agencies. Of course, we are one of seven countries in the world with that rating and a stable outlook. We have this because we have put in place a strong fiscal policy. Getting this rating from the three major agencies is like having the Brownlow, the Norm Smith and the flag all in the same season. I think it is something that everyone on this side of the House will be celebrating. But, of course, those on the other side of the House—the Leader of the Opposition, the shadow Treasurer—raced into the House to trash the Australian economy yet again. They came in half cocked like a couple of rabid pit-bulls, ears pinned back, salivating, tongue hanging out. They raced into the House and all they wanted to do was to run down our economy because somehow they had a whiff that this was not quite right. They somehow had a whiff that it did not work. We saw from the Leader of the Opposition that he has no vision and is all venom. He will do anything to trash our economy at any time.

The shadow Treasurer then followed him. He did not go out and check the basic facts. He raced in resting here despite the S&P report and he had an incorrect report from ABC radio. He should have known how wrong it was. Very sloppy, Joe—very very sloppy. The fact is that they should do the honourable thing in this House today and apologise, stand up at the dispatch box and apologise for trashing the Australian economy. They should unreservedly apologise for the fact that they used incorrect information in this House to run down our economy. What we saw yesterday were the typical bully boy tactics of the Leader of the Opposition and the Treasurer running down our economy.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: how can it be in order for the Treasurer to stand up here and slag and bag the opposition while accusing us of bullyboy tactics? It is different to the handbag hit squad doing it but, by the same token, it is not in order.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business should have learnt better from yesterday's effort. The Leader of the House has the call.

Mr Albanese: Madam Deputy Speaker, that point of order was clearly not a real point of order, just abuse from the Manager of Opposition Business. And, while I am here, the member for Indi should withdraw the same term that she uses every day and has just used again.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Indi will withdraw.

Mrs Mirabella: I withdraw. Madam Deputy Speaker—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Indi will withdraw her seat. The member for Indi has a point of order?

Mrs Mirabella: Yes, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Treasurer made a comment that I find offensive and I ask you to direct him to withdraw.

Government members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The frontbench is not assisting. The member for Indi will resume her seat. I will not ask the Treasurer to withdraw. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: The Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Treasurer—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: if the rules are to be applied fairly—and I know that you find yourself in the unhappy situation of sitting in the chair and having been mistreated for many years in this place by your own side—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will get to the point or he will be thrown out!

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, if the rules are to be applied fairly the Treasurer should be required to withdraw 'pit bull terrier'.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Leader of the House will resume his seat. I had thought the member for Indi was referring to the word 'bullying', which I think we have allowed on more than one occasion. The member for Indi was asked to withdraw one of the only words that is recognised as unparliamentary in the Reps Practice—and every time someone uses it I am honour bound by the Reps Practice to ask that it be withdrawn. I will, however, ask the Treasurer to withdraw the instance about—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: 'Rabid'.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Mackellar, I will not go there because I think it just demeans the parliament. But the Manager of Opposition Business is warned that, if he abuses a point of order again, he will not be joining us for the rest of question time. The Treasurer will withdraw.

Mr SWAN: I withdraw. I was asked about the misrepresentation of facts about the Australian economy. The Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Treasurer did that yesterday—they misrepresented the facts. We have had the Leader of the Opposition do it again today. He said the aim of the Liberal Party would be to return to growth. What does he think is happening in the Australian economy at the moment? The economy is 11 per cent bigger than it was four years ago. (Time expired)

Mr SYMON (Deakin) (14:18): Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. The Treasurer has spoken about the importance of dealing with the facts about our economy. Why are the facts also important when it comes to responsible budgeting and costing of policies? How is the government making sure all members—

Mr Hockey interjecting

Mr SYMON: including the member for North Sydney—have access to the facts and to independent advice about costings? (Time expired)

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: the standing orders require the supplementary question to have some connection to the answer that has just been given by the person who answered the original question. That supplementary question is entirely specious and has nothing to do with the answer given by the Treasurer.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Treasurer has the call and the supplementary question is in order.

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:19): The fact is that we will return our budget to surplus consistent with our fiscal rules—fiscal rules that we outlined and which flow from the Charter of Budget Honesty which was put in place by the former Treasurer, Peter Costello. That demands that we bring down a budget update within around six months of the previous budget—and that is what the government is going to do, as we normally do. Those opposite have refused to participate honestly in the Charter of Budget Honesty. On breakfast television last year we saw the shadow Treasurer say there was a $70 billion crater in the Liberal Party's budget line.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Treasurer will desist with the prop!

Mr SWAN: And that was reaffirmed again yesterday by the shadow Treasurer on breakfast television. The fact is that if he has got all his policies costed, as he said on breakfast television yesterday, he can take a walk to the Parliamentary Budget Office and slip them through there and have them costed. And then we can see what your slash and burn agenda really looks like. It will look a lot like the Newman government in Queensland.

Mr Hockey: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I would ask the Treasurer to table those great photos he was holding up.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is the member for North Sydney seeking to have documents tabled?

Mr Hockey: Yes; the Treasurer was reading from them.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Even I would find it difficult to ask the Treasurer if he is reading from a photo—but the Treasurer is tabling them! The member for North Sydney has the call.