I have referred to the Assistant Treasurer's press release. I have referred to the fact that this is a practice that was invented by this government.
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
(Proceedings suspended from 17:29 to 17:42 )
Mr TONY SMITH: I continue my comments on the government's deception in its budget papers in defining savings as both expenditure reductions and tax increases. Yesterday, in this very committee, the Assistant Treasurer repeated this deception. He said that there were a little over $40 billion of budget savings over the next four years. I make the point that, of that more than $40 billion—it is about $42 billion on the government's dishonest figures—60 per cent of these deemed savings are new or increased taxes, $25 billion in the next four years.
I ask the Assistant Treasurer why he persists with this practice, why the government deliberately set out in 2008 to try to deceive the Australian public and why he is comfortable repeating these falsehoods, as he did yesterday here in this chamber. As I pointed out in my earlier contribution before the division, it is something that a few in the media have picked up on; it is not just the opposition. In fact, towards the end of last year, in The Weekend Australian, Peter van Onselen made the point:
Finally, a few uncomfortable facts that puncture Labor's artificial narrative of economic success.
"Savings", as Labor MPs keep referring to them, include tax increases, not just spending cuts. Average voters would consider such rhetoric tricky.
I ask the Assistant Treasurer to respond.
* * * * *
Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (17:49): Just very briefly, I would like to take up the Assistant Treasurer's offer to table the press release in his name and the name of the Treasurer from budget night that shows the duplicity of the government and that has been kindly annotated, by my adviser, where the government has been dishonest. They label protecting the corporate tax base as a saving when, in fact, it is a revenue measure. They do the same thing on a more responsive tax system but they slip up on taxation of trust, where they call this a net gain to revenue.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is leave granted to table the document?
Mr Bradbury: Not to the extent that this document has been annotated.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Leave is not granted.