Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News Breakfast -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) he will soon ask the

Australian and Canadian

governments to accept him as a refugee. Back to federal

the Small Business Minister politics now. We're joined by

Craig Emerson in Canberra.

Minister, good morning. Good

morning, Joe. It turns out $40

million of this stimulus went

to dead people and expats. That's a pretty monumental

stuff-up, isn't it? It's I

think around 99.5% of the

stimulus money went exactly

where we intended it to go. The

choices are basically this: do

you sit and wait and try to

work out, get that up to 100%

and have no stimulus, which is

really what the coalition is

arguing, notwithstanding the

fact that at the time Malcolm

Turnbull said that we wouldn't

quibble, that is, the coalition

wouldn't quibble, this will

provide a stimulus, that's for

sure. So that's the alternative, Joe, sit and wait

and try to get that 99.6% up to

100%, or get the money out and

support Australian jobs. So you

say these figures are wrong, it

wasn't $40 million that went

out to dead people and expats? I'm saying that that amount

that went out as a proportion

of the total and I'm not - I

can't with authority say that

that figure is right or wrong

but let's for the sake of

argument that accept that it's

right, then 99.6% of the money

went to the intended

recipients. Now, that's a very

high number in anyone's

language. As I say the alternative is whether we try

to get that up to 100%, do

nothing, which seems to be the

coalition's second strategy, or

get that money out and support

Australian jobs. I just give

you the basic figure. In the

second stimulus package, 70%

spent on infrastructure. The

first and second stimulus

according to Treasury packages and the Budget,

estimates, have saved 200,000

Australian jobs. We think

that's very important. Saving

Australian jobs and investing

in the future. So $40 million

is an acceptable error of

margin? I'm just saying that

there are two alternatives. (1)

you do nothing until you try to

get that down to zero dollars,

or (2) you get the money out and support Australian jobs.

These are real people, Joe.

Real people's jobs that we

supported by getting that money

out, retail sales figures in Australia, for example, from

October were up 4.5% and I had

a look at the figures for other

countries around the world. Big

negative signs in front of

those retail sales figures. So

I think all those Australians,

1.5 million, employed in the

retail sector, would be pretty

happy that their jobs have been

protected over this period,

that we had a big surge in

retail sales and now we're heavily into the

infrastructure, the greatest school modernisation program in

the nation's history. Talking

of protecting jobs - it seems

there might be a union push on

for a second wave of reform. Is

there any chance a Rudd

Government would allow workers

to strike in support of

patterned bargaining? We've

got our industrial relations

system established now, and we

got that through the Senate,

with thanks to the cooperation

of independent senators, in

this case, I think it was

Senator Nick Xenophon. No

thanks to the coalition. The

coalition was, is and always

will be the party of

WorkChoices. They want to go

back to WorkChoices and just

the other day in a debate with

Tony Abbott, he said that Labor

has undone the big reforms the

real reform that the coalition

bought in place and he was

referring of course to WorkChoices. Just shows that

they are the party of

WorkChoices. We've got a fair, balanced industrial relations

system that will lead to and

facilitate productivity improvements, and employment

growth in this country. And

we're pretty happy where we

are, thanks very much. So the

unions should be happy with the

reform that's been achieved

sand there will be no more?

Well there's a transition Bill

but it doesn't relate to the particular issues that you're

talking about. Not everyone got

what they wanted out of these

reforms. What they did get,

though, Joe, what they did get

is an honouring of an election commitment to the Australian

people that we would tear up

WorkChoices and replace it with

a fair and balanced industrial

relations system that facilitates productivity growth and employment growth in this

country. Are you comfortable

with the push by Caltex for a

big share of the market? I

think what's important here is

to have the proposal assessed

properly and that's what the

competition watchdog, the ACCC,

is going to do. Now, look, Joe,

I know, I'm a politician, I can

be popular and say "This is

terrible." I know immediately

when I see the news this is a

terrible thing." That's what the coalition has done through

Barnaby Joyce saying that they

oppose it. And one of the

independent senators has also

expressed concerns. We do need

to ensure that this does not in

any way lessen competition, because competition is what

drives petrol prices down, and

a lack of competition is what

allows petrol prices to go up.

Let's look at it objectively. Will it

necessarily lead to less

competition? This is Caltex

taking over or buying into 302

service stations that are owned

by another group, I think they

go under the bapper of Quix.

The point here is does it

necessarily reduce competition --

banner. Now if it's anti-competitive, then of

course we would be very unhappy

and I think the ACCC in those

circumstances would give it the

thumbs down. But let's actually

have a look at the evidence

instead of getting out of the

blocks as soon as an announcement is made, and

saying "We're against it." saying "We're against it." Now

of course, some of your viewers

would say why won't Emerson

knock it on the head? I'd

rather see the objective

evidence. Have it properly

evaluated. That's the basis of

making policy. I know it can be

popular just to say, well, it

must be bad because if I say

that, I know some of your

viewers will say that's not a

bad bloke, that Emerson, he's

with us. Other viewers probably

take the view that I do which

S. Let's get it objectively

watchdog the ACCC and then make assessed by competition

a decision. You didn't make it

on to the rich list?! No, no,

I would've made it onto the

world's greatest debtors, I

think the way I'm going! But

no, I think if they had a

10,000, 50,000, I'd still be

off the bottom of the list, but

anyway, we don't go into

politics necessarily to make

money and that's certainly the case in my

case in my situation. Is

Malcolm Turnbull capable of

understanding the challenges facing middle Australia if he's

sitting on a couple of hundred

million dollars? Again, it'd

be easy for me to say, gee

isn't that terrible, Malcolm

Turnbull's got all that money.

I won't do that, Joe. That

again might disappoint some of

your viewers. I think Malcolm

point Turnbull has succeeded to the

point of earning obviously a a

lot of money. It is amusing

that he says "I'm not sure how

much I have." That'd be a

great position. But the point

I'm making is I won't criticise

Malcolm Turnbull for having

accumulated a fair bit of

wealth. The important thing is

how he discharges his responsibilities as the Leader

of the Opposition. And I'm disappointed in that. I guess

you'd say well a Labor guy

would say that, but I am. He's

been driven by Peter Costello

on the backbench, who's running

the race on emissions trading,

and on opposition to the second

stimulus package, 70% of which

goes into nation-building

infrastructure. So he's dancing

to Peter Costello's tune and to

the Queensland Nationals' tune,

barn beep Joyce's tune. Malcolm

needs to stand up and represent the interests of the Australian

people, not his own political interests. We'll see if you

make the list next year. Craig

Emerson ... I'm not

hopeful! Thanks for talking to

us this morning. Thanks a

lot. I'm sure Craig Emerson has

the memory and the knowledge of wonder race rain at his side

when he's making an observation

like that, too, She is