MONDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Liberals out of excuses for record debt; Deloitte Budget Monitor; Victorian election; Liberals’ cuts and chaos; National Integrity Commission
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: The Liberals have run out of excuses for the fact that debt in this country has skyrocketed on their watch. On Friday afternoon when they hoped that nobody was watching, the Liberal Government snuck out new numbers which showed that debt, on their watch, has more than doubled. Net debt in this country is now $354 billion, which is more than twice what they inherited in September 2013 from the Labor Party.
There are billions of dollars rolling through the door courtesy of good global conditions, and yet still we have debt doubling under the Liberal Government, and gross debt crashing through half-a-trillion dollars for the first time in Australia's history. We've had a new report overnight from Deloitte Access Economics, which shows that billions of dollars are coming through the door and yet we still have skyrocketing debt under the Liberal Party. That's because they continue to defend big expensive tax loopholes which are smashing the Budget.
Government is about choices. The Labor Party wants Australia to have the best schools and hospitals and TAFEs. The Liberal Government, under Scott Morrison, because he's so out of touch, wants to have the most generous tax loopholes for the top end of town. Whenever the Budget is, and whenever the election is, the choice will be between a Labor Party that wants to invest in schools and hospitals and TAFEs and infrastructure, versus a Liberal Party which is always going to reward the top end of town.
The people of Australia, and the people of Victoria, are rejecting Scott Morrison's cuts and chaos, rejecting the same old Liberal policies to take money out of our schools and hospitals and our TAFEs, and funnelling money to those who need it least. And that's what we saw in Victoria on the weekend - a rejection of Scott Morrison-style cuts and chaos.
Today, we've been witnessing the unedifying spectacle of Josh Frydenberg and others wandering around pretending that the Federal Liberals had absolutely nothing to do with the carnage that we saw in the Victorian election campaign which ended on Saturday night. If Josh Frydenberg and the Federal Liberals think they had nothing to do with the smash-up in Victoria, they are even more out of touch than we feared. Scott Morrison's cuts and chaos were a key part of what we saw in Victoria on the weekend. Every time that a Federal Liberal person like Josh Frydenberg and others have opened their mouth in the last 36 hours, they've reminded us that they haven't listened and they haven't learned from what we saw in Victoria on the weekend.
There are a couple of other issues floating around today, and I saw some crossbench colleagues just before now talking about a National Integrity Commission. It is long past time for Scott Morrison to commit to a National Integrity Commission. He shouldn't make the same mistake that he made with the Banking Royal Commission. He voted against the Banking Royal Commission 26 times before he was forced under Labor pressure to roll over on a Banking Royal Commission. Scott Morrison shouldn't make the same mistake on the National Integrity Commission that he made on the Banking Royal Commission. He should do the right thing for once. He should facilitate a National Integrity Commission. We should work together in a bipartisan way to implement the National Integrity Commission and begin to restore faith in politics, which has been so badly damaged and so badly diminished by the cuts and chaos in the Liberal Government and all of the dysfunction we've seen over the last few years.