Jul 29, 2013

Transcript of interview with Naomi Woodley – ABC AM

Subjects: Australian economy; Coalition’s plan to cut to the bone; Federal election

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  What the Government is doing is working on the economic statement that we will bring down that will ensure that we continue to carefully invest in our future – through funding of schools, through the Better Schools Plan, through funding of hospitals, the support for the National Broadband Network – all of those important measures being made possible because of the Government’s careful economic management, ensuring that we turn to budget surplus over time, but not in a way that would damage economic growth and destroy jobs.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The expenditure review committee is considering a range of cuts, and the speculation has been that that might be the Schoolkids Bonus, or family payments, or superannuation concessions.

Are any areas out of bounds in terms of finding the cuts that you need to make to keep that surplus pledge on track?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, all of our budget measures will be consistent with our approach to good policy, ensuring that all Australians get a fair go, with an inclusive approach.

As opposed to Tony Abbott’s plan to cut to the bone, to rip money out of schools and hospitals, to slash spending that now we know he’s trying to hide.

And he won’t even put his costings into Treasury.

NAOMI WOODLEY: But Joe Hockey has also said that they’ll use the Parliamentary Budget Office, which is an independent source of costings for all parties to use. That has to be respected, doesn’t it?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: They haven’t said they’ll do that for all of their policies. And quite clearly we know from experience that they want to sneak into office before anyone notices his plans for spending cuts, which are so drastic that they will hurt Australian families.

NAOMI WOODLEY:  But – I’ll ask you again – are there any areas that are out of bounds in terms of trying to find the money that you need to make up the shortfall that has been forecast by the Treasurer?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: As with all budget processes, we don’t get into the business prior to the statement of ruling things in or out.

What we do say is that all of our actions will be completely consistent with the Government’s approach of supporting a strong economy, supporting jobs, and supporting fairness. That is Labor’s way.

Mr Abbott’s way is to cut to the bone, to hurt families, to cut education, to cut health, to rip money out of essential services.

NAOMI WOODLEY: But you need to find billions of dollars, so if you’re not going to cut health or education, where are you going to find the money?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: As I said, we won’t be making the announcement on AM this morning.

What we’ll be doing is working through these issues in a measured and considered way that’s consistent with our approach to economic management, that has seen the Australian economy be the envy of the world, that has seen strong growth, strong employment growth, strong growth in workforce participation, low interest rates, low inflation, and indeed a triple-A credit rating.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Should that statement be expected this week?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We’ll be making the statement when it’s made, and there will be notice given.

NAOMI WOODLEY: If the election hasn’t been called by 20 August, will Parliament be recalled as per the sitting calendar that was issued for this year?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Yes, if Parliament is still possible to be convened, because the election hasn’t been called, then of course Parliament would come back on 20 August. That’s the reason why you put out the timetable.