15 May 2014
Transcript - #2014010, 2014

Doorstop interview, Parliament House

SUBJECTS: Budget

CIOBO:

Tonight the focus turns to the Labor Party and Bill Shorten. Tonight is an opportunity for the Labor Party to demonstrate that they are listening to the Australian people. Tonight is an opportunity for the Labor Party to show that they put people ahead of politics. The first thing that should happen tonight is Bill Shorten should demonstrate the Labor Party are going to get rid of the carbon tax. They need to get on board with the Coalition – we’ve got a clear mandate from the Australian people to abolish the world’s biggest carbon tax. If Labor is genuinely concerned about the cost of living, if Labor is genuinely genuinely concerned about taxation levels they should work with the Coalition, respect our mandate and abolish the carbon tax. The other thing that Bill Shorten and the Labor Party have to do this evening is they have to demonstrate some economic credibility. It’s no longer the case of the magic pudding that Labor believe exists can continue to exist. Labor’s got to demonstrate they have got economic credibility. Labor needs to demonstrate how they are going to help restore Australia’s finances; not try and be all things to all people like some kind of magic pudding but actually realise they got us into this mess and they’ve got to take some responsibility to helping get Australia out of the mountain of debt and deficit that Labor left behind. Anything short of this, will be a complete failure for Bill Shorten.

JOURNALIST:

Is it a good thing that the GST rate has been put back on the agenda?

CIOBO:

I think its important we have a discussion around Australia’s finances and what’s substantial. We know that Labor left a mountain of debt; we were on a pathway to $667 billion worth of debt and thanks to the tough but fair decisions the Coalition has made we’re pulling that back to about $389 billion, a saving of roughly $16 billion a year in interest payments over 10 years.

JOURNALIST:

So would you support increasing the GST or broadening its base?

CIOBO:

Discussion around taxation reform is something we’ll have in due course in relation to the White Paper in relation to tax. I think more importantly the discussion right now and the focus today is what Bill Shorten and the Labor Party are going to do to demonstrate that they put people ahead of politics. When are they going to walk away from the world’s largest carbon tax? If they’re really concerned about the impact on household budgets; work with the Coalition; respect the mandate; respect the will of the Australian people and help us to make sure we can reduce the impact on people’s cost of living by moving away from the carbon tax.

JOURNALIST:

How will the states make up the short fall though in health and education funding if the GST isn’t raised in some way? It’s there biggest revenue base.

CIOBO:

You know I think the most important thing about the education debate is this: under Labor they were going to rip $1.2 billion out of education funding. The states who would have been most materially effected are Queensland and Western Australia. So I say to the Labor Party get serious. I say to State Premiers recognise that we are living up to all our commitments in relation to education funding. What’s more, we’re actually putting extra money into education funding and if you compare the Coalition’s education budget to Labor’s education budget we’re putting an extra $3.5 billion into education funding.

JOURNALIST:

Aren’t you taking $30 billion out beyond the forward estimates?

CIOBO:

Well let’s talk about the forward estimates and let’s talk about what’s actually been budgeted. We’re living up to all of our commitments, we’re putting in an extra $3.5 billion into education funding and what’s even more important, compared to Labor’s actual budgeted policy, we’re putting an extra $1.2 billion on the table for Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory in relation to education funding.

JOURNALIST:

The Commission of Audit recommended handing back some income tax revenue or some of the responsibility to the states. Do you think that is another discussion that should be had as part of a tax review.

CIOBO:

Look there’s no doubt that’ll we have a broader conversation about tax reform across the nation in coming months and years and I think that’s important. We recognise and we’ve been arguing for some time that the fiscal pathway Australia was on was simply unsustainable so I think it is important we have a conversation about the way in which we can meet all of our obligations and do so in a sustainable way. But Labor’s approach of just saying they’re going to do all things for all people and you never have to make a tough decision led us to a situation where we were borrowing a billion dollars every month just to pay the interest on Labor’s debt. That’s the equivalent of someone with their own household paying their mortgage on their credit card – it was never going to work, it’s not sustainable and that’s the reason why Labor failed.

JOURNALIST:

What revenue source do you suggest the states turn to?

CIOBO:

Well the states of course have their own sources of revenue. They’ve got myriad of things such as stamp duty and, of course, a variety of other taxes available to them. What states do to live within their means, to live within a sustainable way, is off course up to State Treasures. But importantly let’s deal with the facts. And the facts are that in the Budget papers the Coalition is putting more money down for education. You look at for example infrastructure; we’ve just announced the biggest infrastructure package, $50 billion that will towards making this country a more productive country and shift the federal focus from a consumption budget to an investment budget because that’s what Australians need for the future. Alright, thanks all.