Thursday, 26 March 2015

Speech in Parliament - Matters of Public Importance: Budget - 26 March 2015

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (15:29): It is my pleasure to once again speak on a matter of public importance moved by those opposite about the budget. As with all previous contributions from those opposite, there was not a mention of their record that has put Australia in the difficult budget position it is in, not a mention of their debt legacy and not a mention of what they would do to rectify it.

You only need to go back and look at the figures—and we will never get the figures from them. Those opposite look back on the budget papers and they emotionally airbrush away their period in government. Because back in 2007, it is often said, they inherited no net debt. In fact, they inherited more than that. They inherited $44 billion in the bank. Within a year, they had spent about $30 billion of it. Within another year, they were running up debt. I will read to the House their debt accumulation over those years. They went from nearly $45 billion in the bank to $16 billion dollars in the bank to $42 billion in the red to $84 billion to $147 billion to $152 billion to $202 billion, and today we are at about $245 billion.

If you look at the Intergenerational Report and you look at the path ahead, they were taking us on an ever downward path deeper and deeper into red ink to 120 per cent of GDP from the 15 per cent today. In his contribution, the Leader of the Opposition had not one idea on how to fix it; and in the contribution of the deputy leader, not one idea on how to fix it.

As we finish up this sitting day today, we will come back on budget day and, again, those opposite will not have one single idea to advance. For the Leader of the Opposition to move an MPI on what he calls 'budget chaos' takes some front, not just because he was an intimate part of the budget chaos as an Assistant Treasurer but because of the policies he pursued. The shadow minister for finance is there at the table and not even speaking on it.

Mr Burke: I am next. I am after you.

Mr TONY SMITH: You are coming next? You are third in line, very good. Well you can talk about the record of the Labor years. Why don't you talk about the unclaimed moneys? I will read out those figures. Labor in government sought more and more desperate measures like seizing $550 million in funds and unclaimed moneys from bank accounts. We have reversed their position to the position that existed, without any acrimony at all.

Opposition members interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Randall ): Order! The member for Casey is entitled to be heard in silence.

Mr TONY SMITH: The shadow minister interjects. He highlights his embarrassment over this issue of taking kids' bank accounts, taking pensioners' accounts. This is the fiscal equivalent of putting your hand down the back of everyone's lounge looking for gold coins. That is where you have got to in government. Those opposite come into this House on the last sitting day before the budget, 18 months nearly into this term and they do not have one idea of how they would fix the mess. Their answer is to stay on the debt road. The parliamentary secretary was quite right with his GPS analogy—you will forgive me for not following it; I am not as good an actor as the parliamentary secretary.

That is a very good analogy because Labor got us on the debt and deficit road. They got us from money in the bank to 15 per cent of GDP. They promised surplus after surplus and delivered deficit after deficit. Having created the mess—

Mr Giles interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Member for Scullin.

Mr TONY SMITH: The member this Scullin has a guilty conscience, but he was not here for all of it. You do not need to have the guilty conscience. You were not for all of it; you just have to defend the wreckage. You did not create it all; you came near the end.

On budget day, we will see what Labor have to say and I predict it will be the same as what they have been saying for 18 months. (Time expired)

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