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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Page: 12244


Dr JENSEN (Tangney) (14:06): Madam Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline the importance of addressing the debt and deficit burden facing Australia? How will cutting debt and reducing the deficit help create job opportunities?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:07): I thank the honourable member for Tangney for his question, which recognises that we have to ensure that the Australian economy is as strong as possible to deal with potential headwinds in the future, to deal with some of the challenges of the future.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will desist.

Mr HOCKEY: Ultimately, if we fix the budget we can help to deliver a safe and secure Australia. That only comes about through hard work. It comes about through a determination to deliver what is necessary to ensure that Australia can afford its future. From our perspective, it is important that we make a contribution now to pay along the way for some of the benefits we are going to get. In the case of fuel excise increases, we are asking Australians to pay 40c a week extra to help deliver the biggest infrastructure program in Australia's history—the biggest road building program in Australia's history. In Victoria alone, the EastWest tunnel project is going to deliver 6,000 jobs—we are asking the families of Victoria to contribute 40c a week to help create 6,000 jobs in construction work for roads that are going to deliver a more productive future. Once upon a time the Labor Party believed in this. We solemnly hope that sooner or later the Labor Party will come to understand that Australia has been at its most prosperous, Australia has been at its very best, when there has been bipartisan agreement to deliver the economic reforms necessary to strengthen our economy.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Chifley! There is far too much noise.

Mr HOCKEY: We are now in our 24th consecutive year of economic growth, and the reforms of previous governments—in particular the Hawke government, that had a real Labor leader and a Labor Treasurer that was consistent and predictable, and the Howard government under John Howard and Peter Costello—have helped to deliver economic prosperity through economic reform.

Mr Laurie Ferguson interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Werriwa will desist.

Mr HOCKEY: We share that obligation, we share that burden, of delivering reform and we call on the Labor Party for once—just once—to show a bit of principle. I will give an example of the Labor Party's principles. Today the shadow Treasurer claimed that the reason they followed the path they did on alcopops was that there was bipartisan agreement at the time. Well, there was not. The problem is that they have no sense of history and if you do not understand history, you will never understand the future.