Thursday, 22 May 2014

Speech in Parliament - National Commission of Audit - 13 May 2014

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (15:49): Here we are again on budget day witnessing more Labor denial. We are all forgiven on this side for thinking we have just heard three speeches much the same. When you analyse them, the member for Fraser was a bit different from the member for Moreton. I think the member for Fraser knows that Labor has a big apology to make to the Australian people and he is not quite comfortable with that fact. He very carefully managed to not mention any of the things he has advocated in a previous life that might reform some of the structure of the budget. With the member for Moreton, on the other hand, I think the Labor brainwashing machine has done a pretty complete job. I think he actually believes everything he said. He said he was confounded by a few things. We would say he is confounded by most things. That is what we say; that is our experience. It falls to the coalition government—here we are again—on the first budget of a coalition government to clean up Labor's mess. Peter Costello stood here in 1996 and began the clean-up: $96 billion of debt, a $10 billion budget black hole—

An opposition member interjecting—

Mr TONY SMITH: You might learn something if you listen. You did not learn much with Conroy. You are new, you have got a chance.

There was $96 billion and a $10 billion budget deficit that had been promised as a surplus right through the campaign, and what did we get from Labor? No apologies, no concession and they fought every step of the way to fix the mess they had created. They created the chaos and then they complained about the clean-up. What happened when they won in 2007? No net debt, a $20 billion budget surplus and Wayne Swan came in on budget night six years ago and said the surplus was not big enough. The skyscraper should have had another floor on it. In his budget speech six years ago he said: 'We've honoured our commitment to deliver a budget surplus of at least 1.5 per cent of GDP and gone further to a budget surplus of 1.8 per cent. The previous government forecast a surplus of only 1.2 per cent for 2008 and 2009.' As all of those opposite know, and most of them were complicit in it, they wrecked the budget. I will tell you what the member for Fraser did not mention while speaking for 10 minutes on an MPI—and this is a first for any shadow economic minister on budget day: he failed to mention debt or deficit once, not once. You sat there through that government, complicit in the fiscal mess that was created.

The member for Moreton we give a leave pass to. We accept that he did not know what he was doing. We absolutely accept that. But you knew what you were doing, Member for Fraser—$123 billion of deficit into the future and $667 billion of debt. And what does Labor say today? The member for Moreton says nothing ever happened and the member for Fraser does not mention it. Just keep on keeping on—that is the Labor way. Stay on the debt train. And then you have the member for Griffith, who, unfortunately, has been given some talking points about OECD figures, as if we would aspire to OECD debt figures. How ridiculous! As if we would aspire to OECD debt figures. In other words, you see OECD debt figures as a target. This is an incredible proposition we face on budget day.

What is clear for the people of Australia is that Labor will not apologise and Labor will not do anything to clean up the mess that they have created. It falls to a coalition government; it is our historic duty to clean up Labor's mess. We are going to have to do it again, and we are doing it again so that we can have a stronger economy and a better future for all of our constituents.

For those opposite on budget day, here they are—no mention of debt or deficit. Now the member for Fraser is typing an op-ed on inequality or something.

Dr Leigh: I just got bored, mate!

Mr TONY SMITH: You just got bored, did you? I tell you what, I will finish on this note: maybe it was the shadow Treasurer's idea to keep you out of the lockup as long as he could.

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