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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Question QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE United States Economy Wednesday, 26 February 2014 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Responder Hockey, Joe, MP Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (14:12): I have a question for the Treasurer. The US economy leads the world with its economic strength, growth and exports. I understand that Equatorial Guinea and Uzbekistan have the lowest debt levels in the world. Is the government seeking to follow the US model for growth and jobs or are we seeking to follow Uzbekistan and Equatorial Guinea to achieve their standard of living? When was the last time the US had a surplus? How many surpluses has the US had in the last 50 years? Is the US economy, with its military and economic pre-eminence, sustainable? Honourable members interjecting— Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney—The Treasurer) (14:13): I would like to thank Professor Palmer for the question. I would to make a confession to him and to Australia: I am not very familiar with the budget position of Equatorial Guinea or Uzbekistan. I am more familiar with the United States. The fact is that the United States economy has been running at a substantial deficit for a number of years. The quantitative easing in the United States has suited their times but, of course, tapering is now coming into play. As tapering comes into play and the previous fiscal drag that was in place in the United States is no longer in place, in this current year, the United States economy continues to grow—although I must say there was recognition at the G20 over the weekend that there had been some disappointing data that had come out of the United States over the last month or so, which many are carefully monitoring. The fact is that we need a strong United States to have a strong global economy. We want the world economy to continue to improve. It is the case also that easy monetary policy, whether it be in Australia or around the rest of the world, is not going to do the long-term heavy lifting when it comes to growing the economy. That has to come through structural change in economies. Australia is no different. Easy monetary policy will, at some time in the future, come to an end. The result is that unless we have prepared our economies by having appropriate structural reform such as: getting rid of the carbon tax; getting rid of the mining tax; having a better balance in workplace relations by bringing back the Australian Building and Construction Commission; ensuring that the budget gets back to a sustainable surplus and that as a nation we live within our means— and if we do not do it and other countries do not do it—then the problems that have beset the world over the last few years will come back again and we will consign a future generation around the world to a lesser quality of life than that which we have had. There is no easy solution here. There are only hard solutions and the whole nation and the Clive Palmer and students from Immanuel College whole world need to do the heavy lifting. 132 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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