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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Speech ADJOURNMENT Economy Tuesday, 24 March 2015 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (21:10): I rise tonight to congratulate the Prime Minister and the Treasurer on the recent announcement that Australia does not have a debt problem, and that we will not have a debt problem in the foreseeable future. This is an important admission by the government. For a long time it has been pushing policies based on the assumption that we have a debt problem. The question now must be: if we do not have a debt problem, what do we do with all the government policies? All the government policies are based on the assumption that we do have a debt problem. The admission is much more serious than would appear on first examination. We need to have new policies from the government, and the budget is a great opportunity to set a new agenda for Australia—for growth. We need to look at where we really are in the world and let the truth come to the surface. It is a fact that Australia has the world’s highest growth in GDP in the developed world—3.3 per cent up to last December—we have had no years of recession since 1990, and our debt is 350 per cent lower than that of Germany, which is the powerhouse of Europe. We are also number one in the world in the number of Australians going to university. We are also number one in the world in the number of Australians going to secondary school. One wonders what you would seek to get from an education policy if it is not participation and a higher education for the people who live in Australia. When we look at the fact that we have the highest GDP growth in the developed world, we cannot avoid the obvious conclusion that that is linked with our high rate of participation in university and our high rate of participation in secondary schools. What is more surprising is our labour productivity. Since 1990 our labour productivity has risen 50 per cent above what it was in 1990, and yet the cost of labour in real terms has gone down to 85 per cent. They are not the perceptions you get from the government in the period of this parliament— but they are the facts. They have been published by the Australian Statistician, the OECD and the International Monetary Fund. They have been brought together in the Australian Trade Commission report released in January this year setting out the achievements of this country and where we are. The challenge for the future is: what can we achieve? We have looked at the United States and President Obama. We have seen how he has grown the US economy and how quickly jobs have grown. Over $85 billion a month was spent in stimulating the US economy—equivalent to about $6 billion a month for an economy the size of Australia. We see how that has worked. We see now that the European Union is following that example, because they too want to a higher standard of living for their people, a growing and expanding economy, increased stimulus and higher exports. We also know, at this critical time, that Australia has been invited to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and that Great Britain has become a member already—and so has Switzerland. President Obama last Saturday in the United States instructed the World Bank to enter into projects in collaboration with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Australia has been invited to become a foundation member, but it has not responded—yet this is our region. There are $100 billion of infrastructure funds available to be invested in our economy to create more jobs for our people and a better future for Australia. I would encourage the government to look very seriously and strongly at accepting that invitation to join our allies, such as the United Kingdom and others, in this venture in Asia. 100 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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