2 September 2014
Transcript - #2014026, 2014

Doorstop interview, Parliament House, Canberra

CIOBO:

The Coalition continues in our quest to try to get Australia back to living within its means, to living in a sustainable way, to making sure that our budget reflects our national priorities, but also making sure we're not indebting future generations of Australians to paying back Labor’s massive mountain of debt and deficit. We're attempting to do that with both reform in the short term, and then longer term structural form. The real question that I again would post to the Australian Labor Party is: are they committed to a surplus? We never hear Bill Shorten or Chris Bowen talking about a surplus. We never hear the Australian Labor Party talking about whether or not they have plans to get Australia back in surplus. We saw the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh last week make comments that indicated that the Australian Labor Party clearly has a big taxing agenda ahead of it; both in in terms of the carbon tax, and who knows, you could expect income tax increases. That's the only way the Australian Labor Party can pay for their policies, and that's the only way the Australian Labor Party can start to put Australia back in a surplus, if, indeed, they're even still committed to a surplus, a word which seems to have vanished from their lexicon. Happy to take some questions.

REPORTER:

Are you comfortable with the apparent push for changes to superannuation regulation, given the pre-election promises from the Prime Minister?

CIOBO:

Look, there simply is no push. What happened yesterday is we've moved to repeal the mining tax. We indicated before we went into the election, that if we are elected, the Coalition would repeal the mining tax. We're attempting to do that. The legislation has gone through the house and will go before the Senate. It is looking to make good on our promise to repeal the mining tax. It's part of making Australia competitive, and its part of making sure that we as a nation are putting our best foot forward.

REPORTER:

So that legislation can give the Treasurer more power to put a pause on the increases scheduled for superannuation. That's not going to happen? He's not going to use that power to slow down that increase.

CIOBO:

The focus of the legislation is about repealing Labor’s mining tax. This was a colossal failure of a tax. It raised half of one percent of the revenue forecast, it locked in 16 or 17 billion dollars’ worth of expenditure, and we want it gone.

REPORTER:

Just to clarify, there are no plans to pause or slow that increase to 12 percent.

CIOBO:

Provisions contained within the legislation in relation to the superannuation guarantee, are about providing businesses certainty. It's important to provide businesses certainty in relation to the superannuation guarantee, and we do that because unfortunately, we're being stymied in our efforts to make sure we repeal the mining tax. We have an electoral mandate to repeal the mining tax. We need to make changes to the budget to make sure Australia is living in a sustainable way. There's some 16 or 17 billion dollars of expenditure associated with the mining tax, and so the legislation is focused on repealing the mining tax, but providing some business certainty as well.

REPORTER:

So, sorry. This - what do you mean by providing business certainty in relation to legislation?

CIOBO:

Well, the thrust of the legislation is as I said about repealing Labor’s mining tax. Provisions within the legislation in relation to the superannuation guarantee will help to provide business certainty, but ultimately, I don't think we should get too far ahead of ourselves. We're continuing conversations with the cross-bench. We want this mining tax gone. It's been a colossal failure. It hangs around the neck of the Australian Labor Party as the worst example of bad legislation that basically has tens of billions of dollars of expenditure associated with it, but raises half of one percent of the forecast revenue.

REPORTER:

But the government wouldn't have these measures in the bill if they didn't want the option at least to use them.

CIOBO:

Well, as I said, I think it's important we don't get too far ahead of ourselves. Let's remain focused on what the actual overarching thrust in the legislation is; and that's to appeal Labor's filed mining tax. Provisions in relation to the superannuation guarantee are about providing some business certainty, but ultimately, we need to see what comes from the conversations we're having with the crossbench.

REPORTER:

Can I take you briefly to another issue. Do you support full the de-regulation of the Australian wheat industry?

CIOBO:

Look, I'm going to leave that to responsible minister to respond to.

REPORTER:

Why not have an opinion though? Because I understand we've been reporting there is some dissent in the party on this issue and between West Coast and East Coast members of the party. Don't you have a view? You're interested in the nation’s finances.

CIOBO:

Well, we don't have too many wheat farmers on the Gold Coast, and generally, the ones that are there tend to be on holidays, so I'll leave that to the responsible minister to make comments on.

REPORTER:

Is that because you don't want to cause more problems?

CIOBO:

I'll just repeat again, I don't have a lot of wheat farmers on the Gold Coast, possibly none, and in fact, the only one or two that might be there are generally sun-baking on a lawn chair on the beach, so I'll leave it to others to make comments about the wheat market.

REPORTER:

Reports government is considering winding back this, the time people spend without dole payments from six month to one month, does that show that the original matter was probably a bit too draconian?

CIOBO:

Well, obviously the government continues to have mature conversations with the senate, and with the senate crossbench in relation to all of the measures that we're trying to put through. Really, what it underscores is just how stubborn the Australian Labor Party is being. Because the fact is that the Coalition has a clear mandate from the Australian people back on track. Discussions with the crossbench to try to put through the kind of structural reforms that we're seeking to make, to make sure Australia is on a sustainable footing means that there's lots of points of conversation in relation to the government's initiatives. Again, I would call on the Senate to respect the mandate, to abolish the mining tax, and to put through the various reforms we’re making. I'll leave it at that. Thanks.