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(generated from captions) next election, 'cause they're

addicted to spending and

spending largely in their own

electorates in order to win.

For more the federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner joins

us now from Canberra. Good

morning to you. Good morning,

Joe. How do you explain the government allocating three

times more money to Labor seats

in New South Wales as part of

this community infrastructure program? Well, I don't accept

the assertions that Christopher

Pyne is making at all, Joe. In

fact, that community

infrastructure program, the

total spending for the program

across Australia, about 53% of

that goes to Labor seats. We

hold 55% of seats in the House

of Representatives. Inevitably

there's a degree of variation

from State to State. There's

geographic variations because

in some parts of Australia,

there's greater need than in

others. But the total picture

is one of pretty much

proportion of seats that we approximate equivalence to the

hold in the Parliament. So

those assertions from

Christopher Pyne I just

repudiate completely. They're

not just assertions from

Christopher Pyne, they're

assertions made from a study done by the 'Financial Review'

newspaper. I e reject them

too. It found in Victoria ALP

seats received nearly twice the

money to those held by the coalition. Surely that gives credence to opposition claims

that the government is trying

to buy the next election? Well,

no, it doesn't. And as I have

indicated, there will

inevitably be some variations

across Australia so it's easy

to cherry-pick parts of the

picture and distort them to

make them look in some way

material that's been put sinister. So I don't accept the

forward by the 'Financial

Review' either. There is only

one way to look at it and that

is the total picture, which is

the proportion of spending in

Labor seats is broadly the same

as the proportion of Labor

members of Parliament.

Christopher Pyne suggesting the

economy's recovered, those were

his words, it's all over, the

global financial crisis, the

global recession, they're a

thing of the past. The

economy's just moving onwards

and upwards very rapidly - that

is complete nonsense. We are

stel en meshed in a huge

struggle to get Australia's

economy back on its feet after

receiving an enormous employee

from an international economy

that's still in great

difficulty. The opposition to

now be suggesting that the

economy has fully recovered

means they are completely out

of touch with reality. How

much of that $42 billion has

been spent up to now? Can't

give you a precise figure but

it is calculateed to spread

over 2, 2.5 years. And that's necessary, because the figures

that are projections for the

future in the Budget Estimates

that will be reviseed in a stum

of months in the normal way,

impact of that stimulus. What those figures include the

we have projected forward is a

period of pretty anemic growth

of very, very modest growth and

one of the key factors that's

ensuring that will be growth

and not the economy going

backwards is that stimulus

spending. Just pull that out

and we'll have negative growth

ored a best very, very limited

growth. It's crucial to getting

the economy back in good

shape. Are there any

circumstances under which that

stimulus spending would be cut

back, say if the Next G DP

figure was 1%. Obviously we Kel

brait our overall fiscal

position as evidence unfolds.

So always things are

susceptible to change but the

stimulus spending is only one

very small proportion of

overall government spending and

we've got an ongoing program of

savings and we've got a big

challenge to get the Budget

back into surplus as quickly as

possible. So it's wrong to look

at one very small part of

overall government spending, if

there is a need to change the

fiscal etings. You look at the

total settings. Some

economists are now saying that the government should bring a

revision of the figures

forward, because this $57

billion deficit will be a lot

less than it was forecast to be

and that would inject confidence into the economy.

Why not bring that revision

forward? It's too early to make

those calls. We've certainly

had better data over the last

few months than many were

expecting but we have a full

revision of all the figure ...

But that deficit will be

significantly less than $57

billion now, won't it? That

could be the case but keep in mind these things can change

very quickly. All of these

projections are dependent upon

the international economy and

we've seen these things change very dramatically late last

year. We went from modest

surplus to very big deficits

within a very short period of

time because the international outlook worsened so

dramatically, so there's no

guarantee that things of that

kind won't happen again. I

don't believe they will but the assumption that people are

making that it's all over is just not justified by the

evidence. Things have been a

bit better than we expected but

there's a long way to go. That

evidence could be studied by a

Senate inquiry. The Greens are

proposing that today. Why isn't

the government supporting that

call? I'm not aware of what's

happening in the Senate but

anything the Greens do in this

area is designed to enhance

their political prospects.

Usually it will be some kind of

stunt designed to get media

attention. But the government

is supporting it nonetheless? I don't think there is any

particular drama about that,

but the real question is what's

happening with the Australian

economy and why aren't the

opposition supporting what is

so offing b obviously crucial

to keeping hundreds of

thousands of people in jobs and

keeping thousands of businesses

open in the face of enormous

international pressures? That's

the main game in town. They've

made a bad call. They're now

hooking for excuses to justify

that call . Lindsay Tanner,