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Wednesday, 21 August 1985
Page: 87


Senator JONES —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I refer to the Government's success in meeting the trilogy in the 1985-86 Budget. Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the fact that Mr Howard claims that the trilogy was met in his first Budget?


Senator WALSH —My attention has been drawn to the false claim by the discredited former Treasurer. Indeed, I have the transcript in which Mr Howard states:

I have got to correct both you and the Treasurer. The trilogy which was never a particular severe discipline was met in the first budget that I brought down.

What he purported to be correcting was a statement in the Treasurer's speech-it was repeated by me in the Senate-that the trilogy requires no increase in the percentage of tax revenue as a proportion of gross domestic product, no increase in expenditure as a proportion of GDP and, to quote the Treasurer's speech, `a reduction in the size of the deficit'. Mr Howard said that this was not a particularly severe discipline. That is a matter of opinion but it is a fact that in none of the five Budgets that he brought down did he meet what he calls a not very severe discipline. In every one of his five Budgets he failed to reduce the deficit and hold both outlays and taxation to a no higher proportion of GDP. Mr Howard, according to the Budget Papers, met two of the three legs of the trilogy in his first Budget. He did not meet the third leg. I refer the Senate to page 383 of Budget Paper No. 1 which shows that the deficit increased from $3,309m in 1977-78 to $3,449m in 1978-79-Mr Howard's first Budget. The deficit increased by some $140m.


Senator Walters —What year was that?


Senator WALSH —In 1978-79 compared with 1977-78 the deficit increased by some $140m. That was the first Budget that Mr Howard produced. So his claim on the Carleton-Walsh Report last night was false. Mr Howard may have been thinking of the forecast Budget deficit which he brought down in 1978-79. The forecast deficit was $2,813m but the actual outcome, as I have already stated, is on page 383 of Budget Paper No. 1, and was $3,449m. Of course it was typical of the discredited former Treasurer to produce figures in the Budget estimates on both outlays and deficits which were exceeded by Budget outcomes. In every one of the five Budgets he produced outlays that were in excess of the Budget estimate. In one year this figure was a very small amount but in his spectacular swan-song year it was almost $2 billion. I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a table which shows the discredited former Treasurer's failure to meet the trilogy constraints year by year. In short the score is that for two of his five years as Treasurer he met two of the three constraints of the trilogy but for the other three years he met only one of the three.

Leave granted.

The table read as follows-

ACHIEVEMENT OF TRILOGY LIMITS 1976-77 TO 1985-86

Outlays

Tax

revenue

Deficit

1976-77...

Yes

No

Yes

1977-78...

No

Yes

No

1978-79...

Yes

Yes

No

1979-80...

Yes

No

Yes

1980-81...

No

No

Yes

1981-82...

No

No

Yes

1982-83...

No

Yes

No

1983-84...

No

Yes

No

1984-85...

No

No

Yes

1985-86...

Yes

Yes

Yes