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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3257


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:07): My question is to the Prime Minister. Former Treasurer Peter Costello reckons that he'll be dead before the government pays back its debt. Will the Prime Minister confirm that his government's record includes gross debt increasing to a record half a trillion dollars, net debt doubling and net debt as a proportion of the economy growing more rapidly than in almost every advanced economy in the world?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:08): We're not going to take lectures from the Labor Party on debt and deficit. Even after robbing self-funded retirees, discriminating against them, seizing the benefit of franking credits from them in a cash grab, they still can't make their financial plans add up. They want to put money on the public's credit card, as they always have. Remember, they went to the last election with the promise of $16½ billion worth of higher deficits over the forward estimates, plus billions of dollars of additional taxes. They still can't make their budget plans add up with $200 billion of additional taxes planned.

There isn't a tax that the Labor Party doesn't want to increase. There are taxes that they used to be in favour of lowering that they now want to increase. The House has heard many times the very eloquent testimony the Leader of the Opposition gave, as many of his predecessors and colleagues have, on the way in which reducing business taxes increases investment, increases economic growth and increases jobs. They've heard all of that, yet they chewed up—spent—the cash at the bank that Peter Costello left them after the Labor Party came in, in 2007, and set us up with a structural deficit that we have been unwinding ever since.

We are bringing the budget back into balance, and we're doing that with the responsible economic management that the Labor Party can never deliver. A strong budget depends on strong economic growth, coupled with strong economic leadership, and we are delivering both. That is why we had, over the last calendar year, in 2017, the largest jobs growth in our country's history. We promised jobs and growth in 2016, and that's precisely what we're delivering, and the Treasurer will have more to say about that at 7.30 tonight.