27 May 2014
Transcript - #2014013, 2014

Doorstop interview, Parliament House, Canberra

CIOBO:

This week and coming weeks, the Coalition has a plan to get Australia back on track. We've got a plan to make sure we make changes to the rate of Government expenditure to make sure that our trajectory is one that is sustainable in the long term. What we see from the Labor Party, and what we see from the Greens and others, is an approach that isn't a plan. What we see is them arguing for a continuation of status quo which is clearly unsustainable. We saw comments from the Parliamentary Budget Office that indicate the trajectory of growth of Government expenditure in Australia is at a concerning level and what's more, if left unchecked, will become a much bigger problem. So the clear message to Bill Shorten and the Labor Party is that Bill has got to kill their approach when it comes to their failed economic policies and he's got to kill their approach when it comes to a Dusty Springfield approach of saying 'we're just going to wish and hope that things are going to get better in the future.'

JOURNALIST:

What's your approach to government advertising selling this Budget?

CIOBO:

Well the Government is going to put forward a clear message on a consistent basis about why we need to make the changes that we're making. Fundamentally we as Government believe it's not fair to have intergenerational theft; to expect the next generation of Australians to pay for today's generation of Australians. So in that respect we are asking the Labor Party and the Greens and others to do the responsible thing; to recognise that we have savings that need to be achieved in order to make sure the Budget of this country and the economy of this country is sustainable.

JOURNALIST:

I just want to read you a quote on what Tony Abbott said on government advertising in 2011. Mr Abbott said:

Just on the subject of Government advertising campaign, what we've got at the moment is a Government that is taking money off schools and hospitals so it can spend it on ads. This is absolutely the wrong way to go.

How is this that any different to your approach now?

CIOBO:

Well I outlined an approach where we are going to be able to send a clear and consistent message to the Australian people that what we're trying to make sure we do is provide increased funding in a number of key areas. Take for example education. Under the Coalition there is going to be an extra $1.2 billion that's flowing into education over the next four years; more money than Labor had on the table. But more importantly a much more sustainable approach to health and education funding and the same can be said across the board –

JOURNALIST:

So how can you justify cuts for low-income earners at the same time saying it's ok for the Government to spend potentially millions on government advertising.

CIOBO:

Well that's your assertion. My simple and clear point is this: the Government's approach is to make sure that we've got a sustainable approach to Government spending. We want to make sure we're living within our means. Simply saying status quo is good enough is not an approach that's going to make sure Australia is in strong position going forward. It's not an approach that's going to ensure Aussie kids have access to, and opportunities to use, a great education system, a great health system and more importantly doesn't leave our children in a situation where they will have to pay off today's debt as a consequence of the failed approach by the Labor Party and the Greens, who keep saying we can keep spending more money and borrowing a billion dollars a month just to pay the interest back on the debt that Labor accumulated.

JOURNALIST:

How much is it going to cost though to sell that message through advertising?

CIOBO:

Look we are going to be out there, each of us. There are quite a number of us, obviously, that's going to be pushing the Government's message in our electorates and the Senate. And all of us together, as members of the Coalition, are going to be arguing why these reforms are necessary. I fundamentally believe within the fixed budgets that already apply to Members of Parliament we'll be able to push that message because I know that the community is welcoming an approach that sees us have a sustainable long term vision for this country and not a short term populist approach which would mean this country continues to rack up tens of billions of dollars of debt.

JOURNALISTS: inaudible

CIOBO:

I'm talking about the budgets that are made appropriate for MPs to use to communicate messages to their electorates.

JOURNALIST:

How do you feel about Clive Palmer rocking up to Parliament in a Rolls Royce? Do you think he's out of touch?

CIOBO:

Look I'll leave it to others to make a decision about whether, apparently, a billionaire who drives around in a Rolls Royce is out of touch. That's for the Australian community to make their decision upon; it's not for me to cast judgement upon.

JOURNALIST:

Is that a Queensland thing?

CIOBO:

(Laughs) next question.

JOURNALIST:

Can I just ask, back on what you were saying about the allowance that is given, is that the total, the cap of what government advertising will involve?

CIOBO:

Latika you need to put those questions to the responsible Minister. I'm talking about the approach that I'll be adopting in my electorate.

JOURNALIST:

So there'll be more advertising on top of the allowances MPs already have? That's how this is going to be interrupted.

CIOBO:

I'll just repeat the same answer I gave to Latika. But if there's nothing further other than advertising questions –

JOURNALIST:

Would you support further advertising on top of the election allowances?

CIOBO:

I think it's important that there is a clear message to the Australian people; that the approach we have had under the Labor Party is a failed approach that's doing two things. It's leaving the next generation of Australians in more debt; requiring them to pay off today's debt. It's also resulting in a situation where there will have to be much tougher decisions made in the future that potentially could have a more detrimental impact. So as far as I'm concerned, making sure we get a clear message to the Australian people that we need to make changes that are sustainable is a good approach. Alright thanks everyone.