Subjects: Medicare, infrastructure investment, the economy
LISA WILKINSON: Joining us now here in the studio is Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese. And from Adelaide, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne. Good morning gentlemen.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good morning.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa, good morning Anthony.
WILKINSON: Now first to you, Albo. Slashing family welfare payments is not going to be popular with your voters. What areas are you going to target?
ALBANESE: We will be making an announcement today of a responsible path back to budget surplus in order to create the space that is needed for our priorities. Our priorities are education, Medicare and infrastructure. And we will be making that announcement today so that unlike what the Government did, to go into office and then make cuts, everyone will know exactly what Labor’s plan is.
WILKINSON: Bill Shorten has been very honest this week. He admitted that he would allow the budget to sink even deeper into debt over the next four years on a promise that we are all going to be better off in ten years’ time. Bill Shorten will have to be voted back in to office four times before we can hold him accountable for that.
ALBANESE: What we have are measures that will make the budget system better in ten years’ time. What we won’t do is slash and burn in the short term. What we will do is make sure that we invest in education – in every child, in every school – and we will protect Medicare and we will invest in infrastructure, which will boost the economy and productivity over a period of time.
WILKINSON: Christopher, over to you. Your own Treasury modeling shows you can’t afford the company tax cuts at the centre of your economic policy. How does the Government plan on covering those?
PYNE: Well, there is plenty of economic modeling, in fact, that shows that the company tax cuts will create jobs and growth in the economy. And Bill Shorten only five years ago admitted exactly that in the Parliament and talked about it on Sky television. A cut to the company tax rate is an improvement in the bottom line for companies, reinvestments in businesses, and that creates jobs. What we are seeing on the Labor side though, Lisa, is them making-it-up as they go along. On Wednesday they released a ten year economic plan which expired in a bonfire of ridicule and today, apparently, they are going to have a second bite at the cherry. What all this proves is the only Party with a credible economic plan is the Turnbull Government who have been consistent from the beginning. Labor expects us to believe that they’re going to spend more in the next four years, have worse deficits and debt, and then miraculously in the six years after that return to a surplus. They haven’t achieved a surplus since 1989.
WILKINSON: But Christopher, here is the problem – voters don’t think at the moment that either side has a real achievable plan to bring down our nation’s massive debt. That’s got to account for so many voters looking at smaller parties and independents, surely?
PYNE: Well Lisa, the feedback I get from voters in my electorate of Sturt is that they do believe that the Turnbull Government does have a credible economic plan. They know that we are focused on jobs and growth – through innovation, through the Defence industry, through support for small business and a sustainable budget. They definitely understand that. What they don’t understand is how Labor can say on the one hand that they are going to tax people more, spend more, but then also miraculously reduce the budget deficit over ten years.
ALBANESE: What they understand is that they have slogans we have an economic plan, and we are being honest with the Australian people well before the election. Their company tax cuts, assumes, their modelling, assumes that somehow if you lower the company tax rate that voluntarily companies will just pay more tax. It doesn’t add up.
WILKINSON: We are going to have to leave it there, unfortunately. You both get a one word answer. Thrilled to hear that Rob Oakeshott might be having another crack at politics?
ALBANESE: I think that Rob Oakeshott is a very decent man and I am certainly prepared to say that. But that is a decision for him. I frankly would be very surprised.
PYNE: Time to hang up the boots, I think.
WILKINSON: Thank you to both of you. Have a great weekend.
ALBANESE: I am on my way to Adelaide, Chris. Look out.
PYNE: Oooh, I’m shaking in my boots.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.