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Sky News -

View in ParlView



3 AUGUST 2010

Subjects: Mariners Sports Campus; Debate; Economic Management; Medibank Private; MRRT; Asylum
Seekers; Infrastructure; David Jones; Climate Change; Employment; Company Tax; PPL.

PM: Thank you very much. I'm joined here today by the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne
Swan; by our Member for Dobell, Craig Thomson; by our candidate for Robertson, Deb O'Neill. Can I
say for the journalists who are travelling with us, I know we've got community members here as
well, but for the journalists who are travelling with us, obviously today the Reserve Bank will
make a decision about interest rates which will be available at 2.30pm. And after that decision is
made and available publicly, the Deputy Prime Minister and I will hold a press conference that will
deal with those matters. So you should expect that a little bit later today.

But we are wanting to make a public statement now with Deb and with Craig and here, with the
Central Coast Mariners. And can I specifically acknowledge that we're joined by Peter Turnbull,
we're joined by Bob Graham - some great representatives for the Central Coast Mariners, and great
representatives of this local community. And thank you very much for getting us dressed up in the
appropriate regalia.

And of course the Central Coast Mariners are an important part of this community. It's always great
to see on field success, but the Central Coast Mariners, above and beyond questing for on field
success, are also part of this community. Engaged with local schools, engaged with encouraging
young people in this community to get a life, to work hard, to do the right thing. And the Central
Coast Mariners has sought assistance to develop a new facility, a new club facility to call home.
But importantly a facility too where the community will be able to come along and benefit. Benefit
from having the ability to watch their Central Coast Mariners in new and better circumstance;
benefit from having better access themselves to the sporting facility for other community sports;
benefit because the facility, the vision includes making available medical services and other
community services that people locally would look for. We've had a chat over the plans today.

This is a $39 million development that is proposed, and I'm very pleased, standing here with Wayne
Swan, with Craig Thomson and with Deb O'Neill to announce that, if re-elected, the Gillard
Government will invest $10 million in this new facility. To make this dream happen, something that
is sought by this community. And I thank the Central Coast Mariners for meeting with us today and I
know that with this additional resource, they will be able to bring this vision into reality. It
will be great for the team, great for the club and great for the local community. And here in the
Central Coast, too, as we move around today we've had the opportunity to talk to some very happy
working people who were wanting to say hello, people I've actually had the opportunity to meet with
before, courtesy of being with Craig in the local community in the past.

I did want to make some statements about what's important here on the Central Coast. And what's
important here on the Central Coast is the strength of the economy. This is an area that has
emerged from the Global Financial Crisis and global recession with lower unemployment that it went
in at the start. That means this is an area where people understand that when the Global Financial
Crisis was threatening our shores, we did need to act to support jobs. And because we did act and
support jobs through economic stimulus we're seeing the kind of unemployment rates here and around
the country that show the benefit of that economic stimulus. Of course, as we provided that
economic stimulus, it has meant people who live on the Central Coast, many of them tradespeople,
have been able to stay in work. Now this reinforces that when the Global Financial Crisis
threatened, we made the better economic choices. The better economic choices to keep people working
because it's so important that people have the benefits and dignity of work.

And as we come though this period, this election campaign is centrally about the better economic
choices for the future. It's about having a job. It's about having decent working conditions, which
is what our Fair Work Act provides. On the other side of politics, Mr Abbott, if we had made his
choices when the Global Financial Crisis threatened, Mr Abbott would have chosen to have this
country go into a deep recession with more than 200,000 extra Australians out of work. Instead we
chose to support jobs and because we've done so, there are 450,000 new jobs that have been created
since the Government came to office. And it's important what kind of job it is, which is why we got
the Fair Work Act through Parliament to get rid of Mr Abbott's WorkChoices. And of course, Mr
Abbott wants to bring the worst aspects of WorkChoices back.

So as we look to the future, for the people of the Central Coast who rely on that all important job
to make a life for their families, to build a house, to send the kids to school, to make sure that
when they need health care services they can get them. For people here on the Central Coast and
around the country, we have the better economic plan for the future. Continuing to support jobs,
decent working conditions, through Fair Work, assisting families with cost of living pressures like
the all important measure I announced yesterday to make sure our Family Benefits System keeps pace
with the modern age. And we are paying appropriate benefits to 16, 17 and 18 year olds to help
families keep the kids at school, getting real skills for real jobs, particularly in the Trades
Training Centres, we are committed to provide to schools right around the country. The better
economic plan. Investing in the National Broadband Network so we get our fair share of the jobs of
the future and don't see those jobs exported to countries overseas that have got better
infrastructure than us. So it's a great pleasure to be here on the Central Coast. I know for the
local community members who have joined us here today this is a very welcome and long fought for
announcement. So I'm very pleased and proud to be able to join you and say we will be a partner
with you in developing the new facility that you've thought about and worked so hard to get for so
long. So with those words I'm going to turn to our local representatives to comment on this

THOMSON: Thank you Prime Minister. This is an announcement that is terrific for the local
community. All A-League soccer teams play a great role in their community, but none more so than
the Mariners. On the Central Coast, they come to all our schools, they've been involved in
pre-school reading groups that I've been at. They are part of our community; they are part of the
Central Coast, and that's why this announcement is so important. But it also brings great benefits
to the Central Coast community here. We have a hydrotherapy pool that's going to be developed here
that's going to be able to be used by the aged care community. We have a medical centre here and,
like many communities, health is a vital issue. We have a super GP Clinic being built in the north
of the Central Coast, the medical centre that's going to be built here is going to be the same
person who runs that. Now that's more doctors, more health professionals, more health services to
an area that's growing and really needs them.

So not only is it about football, not only is it about the best clubs in the A-League, but it is
also about providing much needed community support, community infrastructure for the Central Coast.
As the Prime Minister said, this is an area that usually is hit harder than most when economic
recession comes into play. We avoided a recession here. We came out with unemployment lower than
what we went into. Last time there was a recession in 1993 this area experienced 15 per cent
unemployment. If we'd experienced the same downturn on the Central Coast as we did in '93, there
would have been 11,000 extra people out of work here on the Central Coast. That didn't happen. Our
schools program has been an overwhelming success. 98% of the people who are employed in the BER
come from the Central Coast. So we created local jobs for local tradies which means that they were
kept in work and kept going with jobs. Today's announcement is a terrific announcement. I
congratulate the Mariners, congratulate Peter, Bob, the rest of the team, Graham, wish them all the
success. I know that you're going to beat the Melbourne Heart on Thursday night. It's going to be
another great year for the Mariners. So well done, and congratulations on this great announcement.

O'NEILL: Well there are many great things about living on the Central Coast. One of them is our
unique lifestyle and we're committed to protecting that. Part of that is engaging with sport
locally. There are so many young people here on the coast and, in fact, I believe we are
overrepresented at the representative level by people here from the coast in a number of codes.
Today I really welcome this announcement that will enhance the football code (that I used to call
soccer, once upon a time in the old days) that will engage so many of our young people. My own son
did play soccer for a little while at (inaudible) and we were there enjoying the games on the day.
But I know that the talents that lie here in the community by many of our young sports people, both
young men and young women, can come to an end all too early when parents find they haven't go quite
enough money to keep the kids at football, to keep the kids at dancing, to pay the fees to belong
and participate.

So I think that the announcement from the Prime Minister yesterday that supports local families and
keeping kids at school and helping with the pressures on family will also enhance sporting
engagement. I'm delighted that the opportunity for all of the people from the entire Central Coast
to expand their opportunity to become more and more fit and healthy, to support the Mariners both
as supporters and to use this facility is a great asset to the Central Coast. I welcome the
announcement and I congratulate those who have driven it to this point. Thank you.

PM: OK can we take any questions that people might have? Yes, Phil.

JOURNALIST: I've got a question, a local question for Mr Thomson about the offshore gas project
that seems to be subject to - Advent is saying they haven't given up drilling, they've just
postponed it to the end of this year. And the Coalition's saying has been stopped. Can you tell us
exactly what your understanding is about the status of that project?

PM: Mr Thomson can certainly do that.

THOMSON: Sure. They have withdrawn their permit that they had in relation to drilling, so there is
no permit. There is no gas drilling that's going ahead. If they want to reapply, then they have to
reapply in the usual way and, of course, people like myself and Deb will be fighting to make sure
that the pristine coastline of the Central Coast is protected. But there is no gas drilling going
ahead. There is no permit and it's been withdrawn.


PM: Yes Latika.

JOURNALIST: Are you willing to debate Tony Abbott on a night that is not Sunday, and are you
willing to make the subject matter anything relating to the election?

PM: Well the thing at the core of this election campaign is the strength of the economy. I was
asked last night, would I debate Tony Abbott, and I said I would be happy to debate him on the
economy. Now I was asked whether I would be available on Sunday night and I said I would be. Of
course I am prepared to make myself available on any night, at any time to debate Tony Abbott on
the economy. And what -

JOURNALIST: Just the economy -

PM: Well, there is no word like 'just' that should go before the word 'the economy' because if the
economy isn't strong, we can't do anything else. Investing in education, in health, in the Family
Benefit changes that we've been talking about here today. Actually investing in great local
projects like this one. These are the things we can only do if the economy is strong. Now I know Mr
Abbott is bored by economics. His very senior colleagues who have worked with him for over a decade
have told us that. But it's the economy that's at the heart of this campaign. You can't be Prime
Minister of this country without having an economic plan. I've got the better economic plan. I'm
happy to debate it with Mr Abbott anywhere, anytime. Yes?

JOURNALIST: Why have you changed your mind on this idea of a public debate and how is it not a

PM: What I said is I want to step up in this campaign; I want to make sure people see more of me.
And nothing is more important to my plans for the future of this country than making sure the
economy is strong. And I can't stress this, I can't stress it too highly. I mean, we know, we know
when people lose their job it can be years before they work again. We know from past economic
downturns that there were some people who lost their jobs who never worked again. We know there are
young people who came of age in past economic downturns who missed out on getting an apprenticeship
and missed out on getting a start in life, and that disadvantage was with them 10, 15, 20 years
later in their lives.

So when we say we stepped up with the better economic decisions when the Global Financial Crisis
threatened, that isn't about a set of numbers on an economist's stat sheet. It's about real lives
in communities like this one. People who kept their job, kept their homes, apprentices who got a
start and as a result will have a job for the rest of their lives. I want to debate that with Mr
Abbott. I'm happy to do so.

JOURNALIST: You said previously that you've debated Tony Abbott enough times. Why?

PM: Well, as I indicated to you yesterday, I'm very clearly taking the lead and defining the style
of this campaign. I think when we have some stylised debates, maybe they don't get to the core of
the issues. I obviously would be looking for a fast and free-flowing debate with Mr Abbott. I've
had them in the past. Mr Abbott is presenting -

JOURNALIST: So no rules -

PM: If Mr Abbott is presenting as Prime Minister of this country, then he's got to say where he
stands on the big economic issues of our time and he's got to say why it is, why it is that when
the Global Financial Crisis threatened this country, his decisions would have had us in recession
and had Australians - including Australians who live here - out of work now, possibly having lost
their homes, with all of the disadvantage that would spell for them and their kids for the rest of
their lives. Mark Riley and then Phil Coorey.

JOURNALIST: Yesterday you told us you'd ripped up the rule book and now you've just laid down a
rule - only the economy will the subject of the debate. Won't the real Julia take a punt and talk
about everything?

PM: To the real Mark Riley, I'm happy to continue to appear in your stand ups as you do them.

JOURNALIST: Thank you.

PM: But let's be really clear here. What question is it in this campaign that matters to
Australians that doesn't relate to the strength of the economy? Do I have a job? That's about the
economy. What are my working conditions like? That's about the economy. Is my kid in a decent
school? Is that school getting properly funded? About the economy. Will my kids get a chance in
life, a chance to get a job, get a trade, own their own home? That's about the economy. Can I get a
doctor in the middle of the night? How's my local hospital going? Will I be able to see a GP Super
Clinic in my community? That's about the economy. Because we can provide those things, we can
provide those things - the GP Super Clinics, the after hours hotline, the Trades Training Centres,
the computers in schools, the great local investments like this one - because we've kept the
economy strong and kept people in work. And we can do that with a Budget coming to surplus in 2013,
three years earlier than predicted and in front of every other major advanced economy in the world.
This is what's at the heart of the election campaign and, can I turn your question around: if you
wanted to be Prime Minister of this country, why wouldn't you debate the economy? Phil Coorey.

JOURNALIST: Mr Swan, to pay for your promises you've taken the $300 million special dividend out of
Medibank Private. Can you guarantee that this won't push up premium prices?

SWAN: I can certainly say that reserves for Medibank Private are very strong. It should have no
impact on health insurance rates which are set by Medibank Private. I think that's very clear. But
I'll tell you what will push up prices. And that is the Liberal Party's proposals to sell it, to
privatise it. That's what will push up prices because it will remove from the system a competitor
that puts some downward pressure on prices from the other companies. So it will not have that
impact. The reserves are very strong and that's a good thing; it is entirely affordable. But what
will have an impact on premiums is their proposal to privatise Medibank Private.

JOURNALIST: Mr Swan? Mr Swan?

PM: Hang on, we'll just take one for Wayne here and then we'll come back through.

JOURNALIST: Mr Swan, today you have announced the members of your resources tax and transition
panel - BHP, Rio and Woodside all have ex-employees on that panel. Are the small miners still not
getting a fair listening to from the Government? And is this a Clayton's Inquiry, given that it has
to be a revenue neutral outcome from the recommendations?

SWAN: This is most certainly an inquiry which is genuine. Headed by a very prominent Australian, Mr
Don Argus, who I have the highest regard for and I believe the mining sector, both big and small,
has a high regard. There is a diverse background, a diverse set of people with diverse backgrounds
on this inquiry. It's pretty hard to find people across the landscape who may not have, in some
form or other, been associated with larger companies. But I think there are people on this inquiry
who have the interests of the industry at heart, including the interests of smaller miners. But to
say that smaller miners' interests have not been taken into account is something that I reject
entirely. Both Minister Ferguson and myself have spent a lot of time talking to a wide range of
miners, including smaller miners, and some of those miners have put forward their wish list in the
past and many of them have been accommodated. Now I know one larger miner says that his wish list
has not been accommodated but I think it largely has been accommodated in the framework the
Government has announced. This is a genuine approach that we are putting forward, it's full of
people of great integrity and experience in the industry and I believe it will work very well.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister?

PM: Yes, yes.

JOURNALIST: Sorry for interrupting. You did say previously that you would have a second debate. You
said it numerous times, so are you just changing your mind because Labor's polls are down and the
campaign isn't going to plan?

PM: Look I am here saying I will debate Mr Abbott on the economy. I said to you yesterday, I said
to the Australian people yesterday, that I think it is important that in this campaign I am out
there as much as possible talking to the Australian community about my plans for the future, about
what I will do as Prime Minister. I was asked on a television interview last night, would I debate
Mr Abbott? I said the issue at the core of this campaign is the economy. I'm very happy to debate
Mr Abbott on the economy. Yes?

JOURNALIST: Can I ask about asylum seekers. There was a story on Four Corners last night that
showed claims of corruption, Indonesian officials turning a blind eye to payments to people
smugglers, what's your reaction to that? And given Indonesian officials are turning a blind eye,
how can your regional processing centre work?

PM: Look we do cooperate with Indonesia to disrupt people smuggling ventures, and our Federal
Police officers and others have had some good success at that, disrupting people smuggling
ventures. But of course what I stand for is I stand for stopping the boats before they leave
foreign shores. And to do that we need to take out of the hands of people smugglers the very
product that they sell. And so in order to do that, I believe we need a regional processing centre
so that the message went out loud and clear to people smugglers and to those who might pay them:
don't get on the boat because you'll just end up in the same place, in the regional processing
centre. Now this is going to take dialogue, I've never said it would be a quick fix. We're going to
have that dialogue with East Timor. That dialogue has started now. Yes?

JOURNALIST: What's your reaction to claims of corruption though, does that worry you?

PM: Wth working with Indonesia, obviously we work hard on cooperation with our regional neighbours.
That does require focus, it requires dedication. We've made resources available to the Indonesians
to assist with the disruption of people smuggling and we have enjoyed some success in that. Yes?

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you say the economy is the most important issue in this campaign. But
it's now week three, we are almost halfway through the five week campaign. Was it a strategic error
of the Labor Party to leave the economy til the later part of the campaign when you could have had
the message earlier?

PM: Well, I don't like to disagree with your question but I am going to disagree with your
question. During this campaign I've talked about building the National Broadband Network. I will
build it, Mr Abbott will not. It's centrally about the kind of economy and job opportunities we're
going to have in the future. In this campaign, I've talked consistently about my plan to bring
Trade Training Centres to every secondary school student around the country. My plan to build on
that to make sure that the work undertaken in those Trade Training Centres can be recognised and
can get kids into an apprenticeship. Mr Abbott has said if he's elected, he'd stop those Trade
Training Centres - 1,800 kids, 1,800 schools missing out, 1.2 million kids missing out on the
opportunity to get a trade skill which will set them up for life. In this campaign I've
consistently talked about bringing the Budget back to surplus in 2013, three years earlier than
scheduled. When we had the debate in this campaign, I said then that the Government had the better
economic plan when the Global Financial Crisis threatened and we've got the better economic plan
now, so it's been at the core of this campaign. Of course I've been campaigning on the economy, but
today, very clearly, here in this community on the Central Coast, knowing how much our economic
stimulus has played a role in supporting jobs here, I want to make the point again. This election
on the 21st of August is about those things that matter to Australians. Do I get up in the morning
and have a job to go to? Do I bring a pay packet home to my family at the end of the week? Can we
afford the things that people want like good quality schools and hospitals. Yes?

JOURNALIST: Just a local question. Infrastructure is one of the big issues on the Central Coast of
New South Wales, and I think during the last campaign, the Government promised $150 million to link
the F3 with the M2 and I think only $10 million of that has been spent. Is that going to be
revisited during this campaign and what can people expect? Are you still committed to that sort of
crucial link for the people up here?

PM: I might get the Deputy Prime Minister to comment on that.

SWAN: Yes, we did make a very important commitment in the last campaign, but at this stage, those
discussions with the State Government have not produced the desired outcome. But we remain
committed to working with this local community on a whole range of infrastructure projects of which
of course road projects are important, but many others as well.

JOURNALIST: I guess the issue with this though is that ultimately you'll have to foot the bill
because it's a federal road. Are you prepared to foot the bill for that road if the discussions
with the New South Wales Government are not satisfactory?

SWAN: Well as you know, we have a very strong and tight fiscal policy. What I'm prepared to do is
to go through the normal planning processes with the State Government and the normal evaluations
and that's what we're doing.

PM: Ok, we'll go here and here and then we might have to wrap up, you'll get to talk to us later in
the day as well.

JOURNALIST: As a former industrial lawyer, what do you make of the $37 million David Jones sexual
harassment case?

PM: Look I am not going to comment on an individual court case, as you would imagine, it is not
appropriate for me to comment on an individual matter. What I would say generally is I want
Australians - women and men - to be able to go to work and feel safe in their work environment.
Fighting against the possibility of sexual harassment - the kind of thing that denies women in
particular the job opportunities and equality that they would seek in their workplaces - is
obviously something, across my working life when I was a lawyer, I obviously believe we should be
in workplaces that are free of harassment.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, if I could just clarify with the debate, there's obviously been a lot
of attention about the topic, whether it is just the economy. From what you have said before it
sounds like everything sort of relates to the economy anyway, GP Super Clinics, health, things like
that, so is it fair to say to make everyone happy that it will cover everything?

PM: Look, I want to have a focus on the economy, because I believe in this campaign, Mr Abbott has
to step up at sometime and say to the Australian people: why did he believe that it was appropriate
that 200,000 Australians should have been cast onto the dole queue and that it was good enough for
us to be in recession. I think that's a pretty important question to a man who wants to be Prime
Minister. And I think during this campaign Mr Abbott has to step up and say, what's his economic
plan for the future? I mean we know that they're not getting their policies properly costed. What's
his Budget plan? We know that he wants to shut down Trade Training Centres. What's his skills plan?
We know he doesn't want to build the National Broadband Network. What's his plan for the jobs of
the future? We know he wants to go back to WorkChoices with all that that implies for problems in
workplaces for rip offs of penalty rates. And of course we know he wants to put company tax up,
with all of the pressure that puts on grocery prices. A grocery tax is what he wants to see in this
country. I think he needs to be explaining to the Australian people why he thinks fewer jobs, worse
working conditions, no infrastructure for the jobs of the future, no properly costed policies and a
new tax on the things that people buy, why he thinks that that is an appropriate economic plan.

JOURNALIST: But Ms Gillard, on that issue the Emissions Trading Scheme was once going to be the
biggest economic reform in a decade. Over there, the elephant in the room, is the protesters
protesting about climate change. Why aren't you happy to talk about issues like that as well?
People still feel very strongly about that and want action on it.

PM: I believe Mr Abbott needs to step up and say whether or not he's got an economic plan. To our
friends with the signs, can I say, I simply don't agree with them. We are big, big investors in
solar and renewable technology and a key difference in this campaign. We want to invest in solar
flagships - Mr Abbott does not. We want to invest in Carbon Capture and Storage, the technology of
the future - Mr Abbott does not. I believe that there should be a cap on carbon pollution - Mr
Abbott does not. But of course we are a country with a lot of coal, with a lot of people who earn
their living from mining coal. I believe in investing in the technologies of the future so that we
have access to clean coal. I don't believe in going, presumably overnight, to shutting down all of
the coal mines in this country so I can't agree with our friends with the signs.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, since we're on the Central Coast and we're talking about jobs, what do
you say about the youth unemployment rate of 42%?

PM: I've had that discussion actually and we're talking here about a youth unemployment rate of
13.8 per cent. I understand that the teenage unemployment rate is 32 per cent. That's a bad figure,
I agree. That's a bad figure and what's going to make a difference for those kids? Well, making a
difference for those kids is about keeping our economy strong so that there's the benefit of job
opportunities. It's about investing in apprenticeships and whilst the Global Financial Crisis
threatened this country, we kept investing in apprenticeships. And the result of that is when we
faced that economic downturn, we have come back up to the normal level of apprenticeship
commencements in two years. Last time we had an economic downturn it took 13 years to come back to
the normal level of commencements. With all of the kids in the years in between, not getting their
first run, their first start and their ability to get into the job market as an apprenticeship
because apprenticeship commencements weren't running as normal. Now I want to invest in these
things for the future. That's what Trades Training Centres are about, that's what our national
Trade Cadetship Programs about and it's what the Family Tax Benefit measure I announced yesterday
is about. Deb is right to say teenagers cost a fair bit of money and certainly, 16, 17, 18 year
olds, don't cost less to support than 15 and 14 year olds. Our Family Tax Benefit structure now
makes an assumption that kids are likely to leave school at 16 and get a job, we know that's not
right. I want to help families with the cost of teenagers and I want those teenagers to be at
school or in full time education, so they're not sitting around unemployed. They're getting the
skills that they need to get a job and get a start in life. Of course we don't want to see young
people on the dole queues meaning that even when if they're in their mid 20's or mid 30's or mid
40's that they will carry with them that labour market disadvantage they got from their earliest

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how can you stand there and say that Mr Abbott's tax is going to push
up grocery prices when only a few weeks ago, Mr Swan and Ken Henry were both saying profits based
taxes cannot push up prices.

PM: Oh, hang on. Settle, settle, settle. Let's explain this very, very clearly. The Mineral
Resource Rent Tax is a tax on our mining companies that are selling their commodities into a global
market with globally defined prices. Economics 101, I get that Mr Abbott might not understand that
but that's the way it works. What we're talking about with his tax on the biggest companies in
Australia is he is taxing companies that make all of their profit from domestic consumers. So if
you walk into Coles or walk into Woolworths, guess where the money that Coles and Woolworths earns
comes from? It comes from Australians walking in their stores and buying things. And so if you put
more tax on them, guess who pays it? It's the Australians who walk in the store and get their
groceries from there. That's why it's a grocery tax that would push up prices. Wayne may want to

SWAN: I'm delighted you asked this question because I think in the last five months we've had four
separate policies from Mr Abbott on company tax. First of all he said a 2 per cent cut didn't cut
it. Then he suddenly announced an increase in company tax for larger companies of 1.7 per cent
across the board. Then a couple of, well, last week, he came out and pretended that 1.7 per cent
increase wasn't happening even when it was. He said he was going to have a decrease in company tax
of 1.5 per cent. And today he says the 1.7 per cent increase becomes 1.5 per cent. So this is tax
policy chaos. We don't have a fiscal strategy from the Liberal Party. They can't tell us how they
are coming back into surplus, what their fiscal rules are. They cannot even submit $20 billion,
almost $20 billion worth of spending commitments to the Department of Finance and to the Department
of Treasury. So no fiscal policy. No fiscal rules like we've got: a 2 per cent expenditure cap, a
commitment to bring our Budget back into surplus in 3 years. None of the commitments that we
outlined last year when we responsibly stimulated the economy. We've got a path back to surplus.
They have no rules for doing it. They're not participating in the Treasury/Finance process to have
their policies costed. $20 billion almost of spending commitments which haven't seen the light of
day. Now that's just fiscal policy. That's before you get to the fact that there is no economic
policy. We have an economic policy as we go forward to strengthen and to broaden our economy.

Now, let me give you one example which is terribly important in this local area. This is an area
where there are large numbers of small businesses. They are the engine room of this economy and
it's true, areas like this as we go forward still face challenges. We were just talking before
about what needs to be done here to support youth unemployment. To support youth and to get jobs
for youth. To lower that level of youth unemployment. We have a proposal to give a substantial tax
cut to small businesses - tens of thousands of them across both of these electorates because we
recognise that not every small business is doing as well as some of the bigger businesses. So we
say as we go forward, let's give some incentive to small business. Let's give them a tax cut. Let's
give them the $5,000 instant asset write-off which they can use for multiple items in their

We were talking to a guy at Erina here yesterday. Last year he used our investment allowance to buy
an engraving machine. Many other small businesses bought tables for their restaurants, they bought
cars and so on. That's one of the things that kept us going during the global recession. That was
one of the very important elements of stimulus that kept small business alive in communities such
as this.

Now as we go forward what we want to do is we want to give all of the companies in this country a
company tax cut. And even after Mr Abbott has engaged in all of the merry-go-round of the last four
or five months about what he is doing on company tax. He is just going round and round in circles.
At the end of the day we are going to have a company tax rate of 29. He is going to have a higher
company tax rate of 30 but what we are going to do is give our 29 cent rate to small business early
and we are also going to give them a $5,000 instant asset write-off. And nothing could be more
important to supporting employment in this community and to small businesses than that agenda which
will broaden and strengthen our economy as we go forward. Before we even get to the investments we
are making in infrastructure such as NBN and before we get to our plan to build national savings so
we can finance business in this country. So that's what I mean about an economic policy. They don't
have a fiscal strategy. They can't tell us when they're coming back to surplus but they don't have
an economic policy to support growth as we go forward.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, just quickly. Tony Abbott has released the details of his Paid Parental
Leave scheme, lowering the levy to 1.5 per cent and delaying it by a year. Is that any better?

PM: Let's just be frank about this. Mr Abbott always said that Paid Parental Leave would happen
over his dead body. Now he's presenting himself to an election campaign and saying somehow he
believes in Paid Parental Leave. Well I think I'm entitled to say, will the real Tony Abbott please
stand up? So I presume if Mr Tony Abbott becomes Prime Minister it will be back to what he believes
in. He doesn't believe in the Paid Parental Leave scheme. If we're re-elected on 21 August our
parental leave starts on 1 January. It's fully funded, fully costed. If Mr Abbott is elected, he's
ripped away the implementation money for the Paid Parental Leave scheme, meaning it's impossible
for the scheme to start on 1 January next year. With his plans, if they happen at all, they'll
happen on the never-never. People will have whole families before they see any benefit from Mr
Abbott and then you'll pay for it every time you walk in the shops.

SWAN: Can I just say something? We've been round and round the mulberry bush with Mr Abbott on this
question. Let's just be very clear about relative tax rates and where they'll be. In 2013 under
Labor there will be a company rate of 30 - from Mr Abbott, 31.5. So that is still his Coles and
Woolies tax on larger companies in Australia pushing up the cost of doing business, pushing up
inflation in our community and hitting people in the street. So that's where we will be in 2012-13.
In 2013-14 Labor will have a company rate of 29 and Mr Abbott will have a company rate of 30. So
lower business taxes under Labor, higher business taxes under the Liberals.

PM: Thank you.