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Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Page: 11520


Mr HOCKEY (3:06 PM) —My question today—which is now Deficit Day—is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to his own midyear economic forecast, which states that the government projects that it will increase its tax collection from individuals this year by over $2 billion more than was projected only in May in its original budget. I ask the Prime Minister: if you are collecting $2 billion more from individuals, why do you need to run the budget into deficit?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —Firstly, I would remind the honourable member for North Sydney that this government replaced the highest taxing government in Australia’s history. I would remind the honourable member for North Sydney that tax as a proportion of GDP has been reduced as a consequence of the first budget introduced by the honourable the Treasurer. And I would remind the honourable member for North Sydney that when it comes to high taxing governments those opposite have rendered a gold medal performance.

The second point I would make to the honourable member for North Sydney is this: the current circumstances which pertain in this economy do not require the course of action to which he has just referred. What I would say to the honourable member for North Sydney is that every responsible government in the world is currently looking at the real challenge of what you do if this global financial crisis deteriorates further through the real economy and jobs. The prescription being put forward by those opposite is: do nothing. The prescription being put forward by those opposite is: if people join the ranks of the unemployed, do nothing to stimulate the economy. The prescription of those opposite is not to invest in infrastructure—in fact, a course of action for which they have an ample historical track record. The prescription being put forward by those opposite is that the global financial crisis through the global economy drives down Australian economic growth. The course of action that you recommend is to do nothing. The course of action recommended by this side of politics is to take whatever action is necessary to continue to support positive economic growth and to support jobs in this economy. This government has so resolved to do. I would suggest that those opposite get with the project to support the interests of working families, as this financial crisis threatens their future.