Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Melbourne - Tony Abbott’s unfair Budget






SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s unfair Budget.


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning everyone. Today we see more evidence that the Abbott Government’s dishonesty and incompetence is hurting Australians and hurting the Australian economy. Labor shares businesses frustration that the Abbott Government, having bungled reform now appears to have given up on reform. It looks like Tony Abbott and his team are more interested in saving their own jobs than helping Australia rebuild its confidence. Today, I say very clearly, Labor will support reform which is fair. Labor will fight reform which is unfair. Happy to take questions.


JOURNALIST: So is it time for a Budget that’s possibly unpopular with some long term security?


SHORTEN: Well I think the Abbott Government needs to do its day job properly, that’s what Australians want. They don't want the Abbott Government breaking its promises. I think the horror last Budget of $100,000 degrees, the GP tax and cuts to pensions, needs to be repudiated. I think what Australians would like to see as a down payment before the Budget, which is barely a month away, is that the Abbott Government just completely drop their cuts to the pension. These are unfair and do nothing to help confidence in difficult economic circumstances.


JOURNALIST: Are you concerned you will be blocking as many measures as you did in the last Budget?


SHORTEN: Let's set the record straight here. Labor supported over $20 billion of reforms. That is a big help to the Government and to the nation. But Labor couldn't support unfair changes and we never will. The $100,000 degrees of Christopher Pyne, the cuts to the pension, by Tony Abbott and his Budget. We don't support the GP tax. Labor will support reform, provided it’s fair. This Government's out of touch. On one hand they say that the answer to Australia's problem is to make mum and dad pay more to go to the baker shop, yet when it comes to multinationals this is a Government who is cutting the jobs of the people who will make sure that multinationals pay their fair share.


JOURNALIST: Would you support a broad inquiry into the retirement income system, one that covers pensions and super?


SHORTEN: The retirement incomes policy in Australia is clearly set. It involves superannuation, a strong sustainable pension and also encouraging private savings. I think older Australians and people approaching retirement are sick and tired of government chopping and changing the policies. I think - we don't need another inquiry to tell us what we need to do, I can do that for Government right now. Don't cut the pension, lift superannuation contributions of ordinary Australians so people have more to retire upon and that we’ve got a proper safety net for Australians who have paid taxes their whole life.


JOURNALIST: This street seems to be bustling Bill, do you really think things are as bad as what you’re say?


SHORTEN: Well this is a great street, in Puckle Street, in Moonee Ponds and it is like 10,000 other suburban shopping strips all around the metropolitan and regional Australia. But if you talk to the traders here, they’re concerned that confidence hit the wall before the last Budget and hasn't recovered. They’re concerned that their customers who are pensioners, are anxious about the pension cuts. They know that what they need to see here is a government who is building confidence not cutting confidence and they would fundamentally tell you that there’s change underway and they’re sick and tired of squabbling in Canberra. What they want to see is change, but change that people can unite behind not which is a fight against ordinary Australians.


JOURNALIST: Just regarding Matthew Gardiner, it turns out that he was supporting the Peshmerga against the IS, do you think he should be prosecuted under the foreign fighters bill?


SHORTEN: Well first of all, it’s illegal for Australians to support armed groups in northern Iraq and Syria. But when it comes to individual cases, I’m not going to pre-empt the work of the police. Politicians shouldn't be getting involved with the actual matters of a police investigation. We’ll leave that to the proper authorities.


JOURNALIST: As a Labor rep would you be advocating on his behalf?


SHORTEN: I would refer you to my first answer. We would say to any Australian who for whatever misguided reason, thinks they should head into these conflict zones to take part, just don't do it. And if you return then the police appropriately, will investigate the matter consistent with the law. There’s nothing else I can add.


JOURNALIST: There’s been a swing towards Labor obviously in WA, are you buoyed by that and around the country?


SHORTEN: What I would like to see is the Federal Government, Tony Abbott, drop his cuts to pensions. I’d like them to give up on trying to make working class kids paying $100,000 to go to university. And I certainly think that rather than talking about increasing the GST they should make multinationals pay their fair share. These are the issues that matter. So today I share businesses' frustration that the Government's bungled reform and given up on it, put it in the too hard basket. Now all that Tony Abbott and his team want to do is save their jobs. Labor will support reform that is fair, but we will fight reform which is unfair to ordinary Australians.


Thanks everyone.