Senator BERNARDI: Nothing demonstrates how out of touch and dislocated from the Australian people this parliament is more than the debate we have had today—such as from Senator Lambie there, who clearly does not even understand what a debt ceiling is. A debt ceiling, Senator Lambie, used to have to come to this parliament to be voted on to extend it. Right now, the Treasurer can just wave his magic wand and say, ‘We’re going to increase it whenever we like’. It is not a ceiling at all; it is an arbitrary figure. To have the argument on this side of the chamber that Joe Hockey, the then Treasurer, removed the debt ceiling so that he would not have to justify the expenditure that he was incurring—to have them justify this—is extraordinary. Let me remind those on this side of the chamber that they joined up with the Greens, who are now openly advocating that we should be spending far beyond our means far into the future and that we should run up debts, moral obligations, for our younger people to pay for successive generations. It is extraordinary that the spendthrift group on the other side are the voice of fiscal sanity at this point in time, with Senator Kitching and others—I will damn her with faint praise—saying a debt ceiling is actually quite important. That is amazing. They voted against lifting the debt ceiling. A debt ceiling is simply a mechanism to ensure the primacy of parliament in this place. It means that those treasurers who simply mislead us, as they all have—every single one since 2007— that a mythical surplus is just around the corner, will be held to account and will have to eat humble pie by coming in here and begging for more money. They will have to justify every lousy, wasteful expenditure program. I support a debt ceiling because it is about accountability. It is about making sure that governments cannot simply promise the pie-in-the-sky surpluses, which we have heard today and which will never exist in the next decade. The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Sterle ): Thank you, Senator Bernardi. If there are no further speakers, we will now go to consideration of documents.
Attribution: Parliment of Australia / Senate unedited Matters of Public Importance Date Tuesday, 13 June 2017 Source Senate Page 48 Proof Yes Questioner Responder Speaker Bernardi, Sen Cory