Bill's Transcripts


17 MAY 2013

7:37 AM

SUBJECT: Budget Reply, 


REPORTER:            To discuss the reply is Bill Shorten, the Minister for Superannuation and Workplace Relations. Bill Shorten thank you so much for your time this morning.

BILL SHORTEN:     Good morning.

REPORTER:            Good Morning to you. $43 billion of savings that you’ve outlined, he’s said thanks very much and pocketed, even if his language was I guess a catch all, for all eventualities.

BILL SHORTEN:     Well last night Mr Abbott had to sit his own NAPLAN test like all the school children have done over the last couple of days and unfortunately they haven’t done their homework. On a whole lot of areas he’s come up with sub-standard answers. One which has got me most frustrated and disappointed is him saying he is going to delay increasing people’s superannuation to 10 per cent.

I worked out last night that is you’re a 30 year-old, earning average full-time wages, man or woman, the delay in superannuation, if they ever increase it at all, is going to cost you $20,000 by the time you retire. So that means that a whole lot of a Australians will not have as much money as they would otherwise have in retirement because of what Mr Abbott said. $20,000 if you are a 30 year old.

What’s more there are 3.5 million Australians who currently are not paying tax on their contributions into their super because they earn less than $37,000. He is going to put a new tax on 3.5 million peoples’ superannuation contributions. And a lot of these people, 60 per cent of them, 2.1 million of them who earn less than $37,000 – they are women.

So women already don’t have enough super when they retire, Tony Abbott is going to make sure that the aged pension will have to go up and not enough people will have enough money to retire on. He promised not to have any detrimental changes to superannuation; he is not in government even and he has broken that promise.

REPORTER:            Having said that though Bill Shorten, given both the budgetary concerns that you have outlined and the Opposition, don’t you think the electorate will be quite understanding because he is positioning this at this point as a delay?

BILL SHORTEN:     Well budgets and governing and running Australia are all about choices. He is cutting peoples’ superannuation to the bone, whereas we think our system is smarter, fairer and stronger. When Mr Abbott says ‘I’ll just delay your increase in superannuation’ it’s real echoes of the Howard years. In 1996 John Howard said he would continue Labor’s plan to increase super to 15 per cent. When he got into power it never happened.

Now what’s happening is that we’ve got a whole lot of people hitting retirement and because there wasn’t more money saved they are going to have poorer retirements.

Superannuation should be above politics. If Labor can fund the increases, than the Liberals should make that choice to make sure that millions of Australians, people going to work now, people watching your show, they shouldn’t have their superannuation savings delayed. Or indeed, I’m sceptical the Liberals will ever increase it.

This is a really dumb mistake, it is the wrong choice and it is cutting people’s retirement security to the bone.  

REPORTER:            What about his pitch to voters around bringing down electricity prices, gas prices by abandoning the carbon and mining tax. Two taxes that have been the cornerstone of your Government, but deeply unpopular amongst large parts of the electorate.

BILL SHORTEN:     The mining tax is deeply unpopular amongst certain parts of the billionaire club.

REPORTER:            It’s not raising any revenue though? It’s hasn’t bought it into the coffers.

BILL SHORTEN:     There is a resources rent tax in offshore resources. Whilst it’s volatile, over the time it has been in, it has raised billions of dollars. The mining tax is going to raise money.  You ask yourself, does anyone seriously believe – they are not scrapping the tax because it doesn’t raise any money, they are scrapping the tax because the big mining companies don’t like it.

 This guy is saying I’ll keep everything good that the mining tax and the carbon pollution compensation is offering, but I’m not going to raise any tax. He says to the carbon polluters ‘good luck, go and do your best, pollute the environment.’ He is saying to the mining companies ‘it’s Australia’s natural resources but you can have it.’ Then he says everything good we are doing with the taxes you can have that too.

This guy is the free beer tomorrow man for politics. He is saying you can have it all, you can have it all – you can’t. Government is about choices.   

REPORTER:            He has outlined several substantial savings in terms of the public service and other spending cuts in addition to the $43 billion that you’ve outlined.

BILL SHORTEN:     Come on, listen, none of us came down in the last shower. It’s a standard conservative copy book, going to sack a few thousand public servants. Some of whom of course will be from defence and essential services around the defence of the nation – standard conservative copy book.

What this guy is saying is they’ve done no homework in the last two and a half years. They’ve been so full of bile, bitterness and negativity, they’ve fronted up, they’ve presented - this is what we are going to do, what they are saying to everyone is you can have it all, we aren’t going to raise, we are going to look after the people doing the polluting. This guy is saying he is going to allow all the power prices in Australia.

It is an amazing set of over-reaching promises.

REPORTER:            But it obviously resonates with the electorate, when you are talking about electricity and when you are talking about the cost of living. That is where is has pitched it. Let’s just move on though if we could for a second and look in terms of the overall budget deficit and the ability, you’ve talked of – two years of negativity – that he has played on, but he has changed that. He has become a different kind of target for the Government. Doesn’t that present a problem for you? He presents very little detail. He presents a figure, I guess, of saying we will wait and see because it is such a mess that I can’t really predict exactly what is going to happen. Doesn’t that pose a problem for the Government in terms of going to the election and the poll? The budget has made it easy for him not to necessarily spell out what he is going to do. 

BILL SHORTEN:     I’m saying to you he does have to spell things out. Let’s look at what he has done. Barry O’Farrell, from his own political party, the Liberal Party, he and Julia Gillard have agreed to make sure 1.1 million children in New South Wales get on average about six to seven hundred dollars more per year worth of support in their schools.

Now Tony Abbott is saying no to that. There are 1.5 million kids whose families get the school kids bonus. That’s gone. He is telling people with superannuation, he is telling anyone who is 30 years of age now that he is going to delay your super, if not cancel it and that’s going to cost you $20,000. And then he says, the guy is the David Copperfield, the magician of politics. He is pulling more budget rabbits out more hats and it doesn’t stack up.

The only good thing about last night is that at last he has stopped being a small target. And now, at last, we can tell Australians that this guy, you make a choice if you vote for him. You make a choice between cutting things to the bone, between cutting superannuation and education. 

REPORTER:            But hasn’t the Government made it easier for him because it now has this massive budget deficit and it allows him to say cuts are needed?  It’s critical, what he was offering was a safe pair of hands.

BILL SHORTEN:     But he is not really saying that is he. What he is saying is that I’m going to make a whole lot of unfunded promises, I hope no one - the Government, the people, the media – don’t examine my promises. How on earth do you give away a mining tax back to the big mining companies? How on earth do you decide carbon pollution is ok, but keep all the compensation? Something just doesn’t add up in his sums.   

REPORTER:            Bill Shorten, sorry, just let’s just move on. I wanted to ask you to too about Gonski and the DisabilityCare policy that we saw – how much did it mean to the Prime Minister and to your Government. What are your thoughts around whether these two keys reforms of your Government will be delivered, of course, Gonski yet to have the buy-in from the states? 

BILL SHORTEN:     Well in terms of a national disability insurance scheme, it’s something I’ve been working on for five years. We need to do it. It should’ve been done many years ago. It’s a fundamentally important reform and I don’t think anyone would be stupid enough to try and cut that back after the hopes and expectations and indeed Labor fully funding it has been provided.

In terms of education, the kids are our future, there is a clear choice. I’m in Moonee Ponds in the city of Moonee Valley, I know there are six primary schools in my electorate. Every one of them will stand to get, of a school population of about 400 kids at a school, an extra $280,000. I hope to goodness Tony Abbott doesn’t get into power because he is going to snatch away tens of thousands of dollars of extra resources for these schools, more electives, more sport equipment, more choices  for the kids. So yes I think Tony Abbott is a threat to the education of the little ones and he said as much last night.

Labor is the choice if you want a stronger, smarter, fairer country. Liberals are the choice if you want cuts to the bones and I don’t trust them on workplace relations and what they are doing with super is just plain crazy. People will retire poorer.

REPORTER:            Thanks for your time this morning Mr Shorten.

BILL SHORTEN:     Thanks very much.