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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Question QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE Government Debt Monday, 23 February 2015 Clive Palmer – Member for Fairfax Responder Hockey, Joe, MP Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (14:25): My question is to the Treasurer. If projected government debt continues for 50 years, Australia’s debt as a percentage of GDP will be less than the OECD average today and less than the US, the UK and Japan today. So why destroy Australia’s living standards with austerity? Has the Treasurer misled the Australian community? Why not tell the truth, Treasurer, and save your colleagues while you can from Newman’s fate? The SPEAKER: That sounded remarkably like debate. I remind the member for Fairfax that debate is not permitted within the confines of a question. However, I will let the question stand and give the call to the Treasurer. Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney—The Treasurer) (14:25): I say to the member for Fairfax that when we release the Intergenerational r eport in the next two weeks he will be able to immediately identify the legacy of debt and deficit from the Labor Party; he will be able to identify how far we have come to redress the legacy of debt and deficit and, importantly, he will be able to identify what he can do to help us ensure that the next generation of Australians does not end up being born with a $24,000 debt hanging around their necks. What the Labor Party and the member for Fairfax do not understand is that Australia is an importer of capital. We import money from the rest of the world. We do so because we have not got an enormous population that is able to fund our growth. We cannot build the massive infrastructure that Australia needs simply on our own domestic savings. We cannot do that. Since 1788 we have imported money to fund our growth. When you import money to fund your growth, when you rely on the funding provided by the rest of the world, it exposes you to the volatility of global capital markets. It makes you, in one sense, subservient to the bankers in the rest of the world. At the more extreme end you can see it happening right now in Greece, where they are totally subservient, as a government and as a nation, to the views and opinions of the people in Europe and the bankers in Europe who pay the bills. We do not want to be in a position where we are subservient to other nations. We do not want to be in a position where we are beholden to people who lend money. That is not the way we want to be. The fastest way to pay down debt, and the fastest way to reduce our exposure to those people who lend us money, is to ensure that you have a government that lives within its means. If the government lives within its means, the nation starts to live within its means and it means that we control our destiny and we are not having anyone overseas, any bankers who lend us money or any lenders based offshore, telling us how to run our country and how to run our budget. We will not allow ourselves to get in that position, and therefore our view is we need to be a nation that lives within our means and that is exactly what Liberal and National governments always do. The Last Sentry at the Gate: Clive Palmer & the 44th Parliament of Australia 145


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