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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Question QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE Budget Tuesday, 23 September 2014 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Responder Hockey, Joe, MP Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (14:18): My question is to the Treasurer. Under that great Liberal Prime Minister and founder of the Liberal Party, Sir Robert Menzies, the Australian economy had a debt level of 40 per cent of GDP. Why does the government seek to shrink the money supply and domestic demand when our debt level is only 12 per cent of GDP and the average OECD country’s debt level is 73 per cent of GDP and Australia has a AAA credit rating? Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney—The Treasurer) (14:18): I thank the honourable member for Fairfax for the question. If I remember correctly, I think Australia’s debt level actually peaked at about World War II, associated with the costs associated with war. From that period on, debt levels started to reduce. And Menzies was a great Prime Minister, because he reduced the debt levels, just as this Prime Minister wants to reduce the debt levels and just as the Howard government reduced the debt levels, because that is what Liberals do: we pay off the debt that Labor builds up— Mr Dreyfus interjecting— The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs will desist. Mr HOCKEY: because we know that it is hugely important not to leave the next generation of Australians with more debt. If we continued on the path that Labor left—a legacy of deficit and debt—we would end up leaving in 10 years every man, woman and child in Australia with $25,000 of debt. That is unacceptable, because great Liberals— Ms Claydon interjecting— Ms Chesters interjecting— The SPEAKER: The members for Newcastle and Bendigo will desist. Mr HOCKEY: get on with the job of paying off debt. That is what we do; that is what Menzies did, that is what Howard did and that is what Abbott is doing. We are getting on with the job of stopping the haemorrhaging and making sure can pay down the debt. Ms Butler interjecting— The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith will also desist. Mr HOCKEY: As the member for Fairfax knows, you never want to end up in an economic trough. You do not want to end up in a trough, because when you end up in a trough you get yourself into trouble. And of course if you keep spending money that you do not have—or other people’s money, which is even worse—you can end up in the trough. From our perspective, we want Australia to be strong and robust. We want Australians to be prosperous, and the best way to do that is for Australia to live within its means. And the second thing you should do is understand that we cannot continue to put expenditure on the credit card. We cannot continue to build up deficit and debt that we cannot afford to repay over a long period of time. That is why we have made the tough decisions, the difficult decisions, but the right decisions in the budget. Ms Owens interjecting— The SPEAKER: If the member for Parramatta continues she will leave. Mr HOCKEY: If we want to maintain the quality of life that Menzies helped to build, that Howard helped to build and that we want to build for the future, we have to live within our means. 142 The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia


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