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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5230

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (17:44): I thank the member for Casey for his contribution. This government has been very much focused on delivering responsible savings not just throughout this budget but also through previous budgets. I think it would be fair to say that so responsible were these savings that they have been, it would appear, accepted and adopted holus bolus by the opposition. That, I think, is a significant point to make. The member for Casey has not reflected upon the fact that his leader has indicated that so good a budget was this that they will be adopting those savings measures in full. The member for Casey referred to the press release, and I encourage him to table that press release because it is a fine document that sets out some of the significant reforms that our government is undertaking in relation to taxation—in particular, to corporation taxation.

I know that the member for Casey has had the unfortunate task of having to come into the House on various occasions and defend the very poor record of the opposition when it comes to supporting our government's efforts to crack down on corporate tax erosion and corporate tax loopholes. In fact, over the short period that I have been the Assistant Treasurer we have introduced measures that have collectively protected the revenue base to the order of $10 billion or greater. Each of these measures has met with the opposition of the opposition. I know they are called the opposition, but that does not mandate that on every occasion they should say no to sensible policy that is in the national interest.

I note that the member opposite seeks to quibble with the figures that we have asserted in terms of the responsible savings that we have put in place. He is also suggesting that there is somehow some duplicity in the approach that the government is adopting. What I think is worth acknowledging is that in his budget-in-reply speech, the Leader of the Opposition spoke of what he says is a budget emergency. I think we all understand that when the Australian economy is held up side by side with every other advanced economy in the world, we can stand tall.

We can stand tall because, since the global financial crisis, our economy has grown 13 per cent. That is without peer in the advanced world. We have created, in the time we have been in office, almost one million jobs. Those opposite seek to dismiss this as something that is not a great achievement, something that just happened—the economy is on autopilot, jobs are created and growth occurs. They should have a look at what is happening all around the world. The performance of any given economy in a global context is relative, and we continue to grow at a pace that outstrips just about every other advanced economy. We continue to generate jobs. We continue to maintain inflation at contained levels.

Interest rates that are presently at very low levels. Those opposite, when in government, made a virtue of low interest rates; they said it was the symbol of good economic management. In fact, they even fraudulently won an election—in 2004, it was—on the basis that they would keep interest rates at record lows. And then we had increase after increase after increase. In fact, I think there were 10 consecutive increases after they had made the commitment that they would keep interest rates at record lows.

Now that interest rates are at low levels they assert that this is no longer, in their new paradigm, a measure of the success of an economy; it is a sign of economic weakness. Well, they should go and have a look at their so-called 'real plan' that suggests that you would keep interest rates lower than the government. What does that say about the sort of economic emergency that you would have thrust upon the Australian people? Frankly, the economy has been resilient and this budget not only recognises that but makes long-term investments in the future.