17 July 2014
Transcript - #2014020, 2014

Doorstop Interview, Canberra

SUBJECTS: Tax and Budget

CIOBO:

Today we continue to see the Labor Party stall when it comes to repealing the Carbon Tax.  The Australian people gave the government a clear mandate to abolish the Carbon Tax.  We're intending to do so. It’s time the Labor Party and the Greens especially have stepped up to the plate.  In addition, we continue to see the Labor Party dealing themselves out of any role in terms of responsible economic goverance of Australia.

We see the Labor Party and the Greens attempting to put tens of billions of dollars of additional spending back into the Budget.  This is to defy the will of the Australian people, who elected the Coalition on the basis of the Coalition restoring the economic credibility and sustainability of Australia.  We've seen comments from economists in the last 24 hours that indicate that Labor's approach to the Budget is for more borrowing, more debt, more deficit, adding hundreds of billions of dollars on to the debt total.  This is basically an approach that sees Labor and the Greens stealing from Aussie kids to pay for today's spending, and it's time it stopped.

Happy to take some questions.

JOURNALIST:

What sort of Budget alternative measures are you and the rest of the Treasury team looking at?

CIOBO:

The Coalition's primary focus is to put forward and to get through the Parliament the plan that we've outlined to the Australian people.  We made it clear that we have a plan to restore Australia’s economic credibility.  We've got a plan to deal with Labor's debt and deficit tragedy.  We want to make sure that the Labor Party does the responsible thing by the Australian people and, importantly, by Aussie kids who have to pay back all this debt that Labor seems to be hell bent on making sure stays in place.

JOURNALIST:

Joe Hockey said yesterday that basically there's a Plan B.  What is the Plan B?

CIOBO:

Well, what I'm focused on is Plan A, and Plan A is the Coalition's clear determination to put through the Parliament our plan to make sure the nation lives within its means and lives in a sustainable way.  I would call upon the Labor Party to stop filibustering.  I would call upon the Labor Party to respect the mandate of the Australian people they provided to the Coalition, to repeal the Carbon Tax, and to make sure that the nation lives within its means so we're not stealing from the next generation of Australians to pay for today's spending.

JOURNALIST:

Was Joe Hockey right to be talking about a Plan B?

CIOBO:

Well, it's clear that if the Labor Party continues to defy the will of the Australian people, if the Labor Party still continues to have not learnt a single lesson when it comes to actually managing the Australian economy in a responsible way, that we have got to look at alternatives.  Our focus, though, is upon getting toward and getting through the Parliament our plan.  It's the only plan that any political party has on the table.  Instead, we've got a wrecking-ball approach from the Labor Party and the Greens that say, "we do not care how much it's going to cost future generations."  The Labor Party and the Greens clearly do not care now many more tens of billions of dollars of deficit and hundreds of billions of dollars of debt they impose on the next generation of Australians.

JOURNALIST:

Could we see even bigger cuts to foreign aid if they don't have to go through the Parliament?

CIOBO:

Well, look, all this speculation about what will and won't happen all comes down to this, and the crux is that the Labor Party and the Greens are very happy to continue to see the Australian nation slide into debt and deficit.  They've learnt nothing about the last six years.  They snub their nose at the Australian people and the plan that the Coalition has to return the Budget to an economically sustainable position.  The clear message is this: the Coalition is the only party that has a plan that puts the national interest first.  The Coalition is the only party that's not going to continue to borrow against our children.  To make sure that we fund today's living, we can either take small steps now or much more substantial and more painful steps in the future.

JOURNALIST:

What's the deadline for these alternatives. Is there a cut-off point where you say, "alright we’re not getting measures through the Senate.  What are our alternatives? Let's start chopping elsewhere?"

CIOBO:

We've still got legislation that's going to go through the Lower House and up to the Senate.  There's still votes that need to take place in the Senate.  I mean, we've had more than fifty hours of debate on the repeal of the Carbon Tax there.  I mean, at some point surely the Labor Party and the Greens have got to stop their filibustering and actually recognize the mandate and the will of the Australian people.  I know they're trying to be heroes, and they're willing to do whatever it takes to prevent the Coalition from fulfilling its election promises, but we remain committed to fulfilling our election promises, and what's more, we're actually trying to hold Labor to their own promises because we've got the crazy and perverse situation where the Labor Party actually opposed billions of dollars of their own announced savings.

JOURNALIST:

Are you expecting a vote on the Carbon Tax today?

CIOBO:

Well, I would encourage the Labor Party and the Greens to have the vote on the Carbon Tax repealed today.  The Coalition has a clear mandate from the Australian people.  I mean, the Australian people could not have spoken any more clearly at the last election than they did, and yet, Bill Shorten and the Labor Party, after lying about having terminated the Carbon Tax, now continue to obsess about taking every opportunity to keep the world's biggest Carbon Tax in place.

JOURNALIST:

Will the government galantine debate in the Senate?

CIOBO:

We're going to respect the Senate, respect the Senators from the crossbench, and even from the Opposition about their approach, but we encourage them to get on with the job, stop filibustering, and to recognize that they've got to put the national interest ahead of their own political interests.

All right.  Thanks all.