CHANNEL 9 TODAY SHOW
WEDNESDAY, 14 MAY 2014
SUBJECT/S: The Abbott Government’s Budget of Twisted Priorities and Broken Promises.
HOST: Well joining us now is Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten as we go through more about reaction. Mr Shorten, good morning to you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning Karl.
HOST: You heard the Prime Minister last night. You heard Joe Hockey last night. Your response this morning?
SHORTEN: It's a bad news budget. I wish the Prime Minister had been straight with the people before the last election. Families this morning waking up are going to realise that Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have set them back and put pressure on their cost of living and these are families already struggling to make ends meet.
HOST: What is it that you are going to oppose specifically out of the budget?
SHORTEN: Well we only saw the budget last night, but there’s three or four things which stand out like enormous problems for cost of living and broken promises and tax increases. Putting up everyone's petrol bill we think is a bad idea in the current circumstance. People going to work this morning, people dropping their kids off, they don't need Tony Abbott making them pay more tax to drive their cars. We certainly are not interested in supporting them gutting Medicare. I know that for some people they say oh, $10 extra to go to the doctor isn't very much, but the truth of the matter is that four in every 10 Australians are more likely to put off taking, you know, their family members to the doctor or themselves if it is going to cost a new tax. I think the other thing which is greatly concerning is the government is setting out that it is going to change pensions. Our fixed income pensioners, our older Australians, they don't have a lot of money as it is. So it is pensions, Medicare and petrol are all bad ideas.
HOST: Okay, bad ideas., but are you going to oppose them?
HOST: Okay, in the Senate, you will be opposing all of those ideas?
SHORTEN: Yes, we will fight and I don't know if we will win the arguments against Tony Abbott and their bad budget, but we will fight and fight and fight for Medicare. People, we get that you’ve got to improve the health system and make it, you know, more cost effective. But you don't do that by stopping people at the door of the doctors surgery. Our GPs are on the front line. We don't need to turn them into some form of tax collectors and discouraging sick people from going to the doctor because if you are sick, if you have got asthma, osteoporosis, you’ll end up going to the doctor later anyway when you’re sicker. It is no real saving.
HOST: I think most people accept the idea that there needed to be change. Do you bare some responsibility and the previous government bare some of that responsibility for that need to change and the fact that you didn't change before?
SHORTEN: Well we did make changes and let's be really straight here because I think after Tony Abbott breaking so many promise after the last election, people are justifiably cynical. But Australia doesn't have the budget crisis that would warrant slugging families these massive cost of living impacts.
HOST: So you’d let things go as they are.
SHORTEN: No. you’ve always got to make changes but –
HOST: Why weren't they made when you were in government?
SHORTEN: We did make changes and at the end of our time in government, we had an Triple-A credit rating and without boring people to tears, only 10 countries in the world have their governments rated at that high level of financial prudence and outcome. So yes, you do in the medium term always have to make sure that what a government spends is less than its revenues. But you don't do it by the broken promises and by slugging ordinary people. There will be people, you know, say their dad earns $90,000-$95,000 a year, mum's raising the kids, a 12-year- old and a 5-year-old, they are going to pay nearly $2,000 more. What on earth, these people are already paying their taxes, why should they be paying more to fix up Tony Abbott's false budget emergency?
HOST: You’d have to accept that the tax on people earning more than $180,000 is a good idea, wouldn’t you?
SHORTEN: Well I don't know how you feel about it Karl but I don't –
HOST: Well I don't have any dramas about it, I’m asking you as the leader of the opposition. You would have to support that as a Labor leader, surely?
SHORTEN: Well what we think it is a broken promise. We think that –
HOST: Do you support, do you support –
SHORTEN: I’ll come to that but I'm not going to let Tony Abbott off the hook, people may –
HOST: I understand that but as a principle, do you accept taxing those on more than $180,000?
SHORTEN: We haven't made a final position on that -
HOST: Isn't that categorical though for a Labor Party to go right, that we accept that, that’s perfectly acceptable to tax those that can afford it?
SHORTEN: I’ll try to answer it in 20 seconds. First of all Tony Abbott said no new taxes under a government he leads. He said no government, no nation ever taxes its way to prosperity. So it was a lie.
The second thing is my main focus if you want to know how Labor’s thinking, you know, in less than 24 hours, is I'm interested in the battlers, I’m interested in the people who are going to pay the petrol tax, I'm interested in the people who are going to lose great Medicare service and have to pay more for their healthcare, so as an issue, it is not as important to us but it is a complete backflip on what the Liberals said they would do before the last election.
Has Tony Abbott so lowered our expectations, that before the election when he staked his reputation on being the Mother Teresa of never breaking promises, now there is practically no one in Australia who’s not paying more. Tony Abbott wasn't straight with people.
HOST: All right, thank you Bill, we’ll let you go. Thank you for joining us this morning on this chilly morning. Nice to see you.
SHORTEN: Lovely to see you, have a nice day.
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053