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Dutton says Swan should have made more cuts -

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Dutton says Swan should have made more cuts

Broadcast: 14/05/2008

Reporter: Tony Jones

Opposition finance spokesperson Peter Dutton gives his assessment of the Federal Budget.


TONY JONES: Well Lindsay Tanner's Opposition counterpart is Peter Dutton. He'll play a key role in
the Liberals' dissection of the Rudd Government's first Budget. He joins us now.

Peter Dutton, thanks for being here.


TONY JONES: A massive surplus, tax cuts, combined with spending cuts to dampen inflation and
billions locked into nation building projects and funds, I should say, sounds like a Peter Costello
budget, doesn't it?

PETER DUTTON: Don't listen to too much of the Rudd Government's spin, Tony. What you have got to
look is the figures presented that have been presented in the Budget papers, and really what they
show first up is that Wayne Swan really is a joke as the Treasurer of this country. It makes a joke
of what he said about the economy that he inherited from the Coalition, it was a very strong
economy. In stark contrast to that which we inherited from Labor in 1996 when we had massive
deficits to contend with. They are rolling in money, they haven't made the spending cute that Wayne
Swan said were needed. In actual fact...

TONY JONES: What are the spending cuts do you think they should have made, because only a few days
ago we had Malcolm Turnbull saying if you put the foot too hard on the economy through budget cuts
you'll cause huge difficulties, now you are saying they should do more.

PETER DUTTON: If you see the rhetoric, and look back at some of the comments that have been made by
Wayne Swan and Lindsay Tanner, they said they needed to slash spending in the Budget which they
haven't done, they said they needed to do that to bring inflationary pressures down.

TONY JONES: We just hear, the Finance Minister say they've slashed spending by affectively $7

PETER DUTTON: Let me give you the real figure, and that is in 2007/2008 they'll increase spending
by $3 billion. If Wayne Swan had made no decisions between the election last November and now, we
would have actually achieve ...

TONY JONES: Where are they increasing spending, perhaps you should explain that to us.

PETER DUTTON: The career's allowance, for arguments sake, which they had refused to spend any money
on, they were dragged kicking and screaming to provide that carer's allowance payment that's

TONY JONES: Let me get this right, you think Treasury's got all these figures wrong, do you?

PETER DUTTON: No, what I'm saying is that the spin of the Rudd Swan Government needs to be put to
one side and we need to deal with the facts. And the fact is that in 2007/2008, this current
financial year the surplus is about $16.8 billion, that's about 1.5 per cent of GDP. If Wayne Swan
had done nothing between the election last year and now the actual surplus would have been 1.7 per
cent of GDP. So, their spending for this year has gone up by $3 billion. Cut the rhetoric out and
if you look to 2009/2010. Their actual spending goes up by 5.5 per cent, by their own figures.

TONY JONES: 2009/2010 is a long way away. And we should add to that the Treasury is saying by then
inflation would have moderated. Spending more might be a good thing for the economy by your own
logic, or by your Shadow Treasurer's own logic.

PETER DUTTON: You put the proposition to Mr Tanner before, when will the Labor Party start to take
responsibility for outcomes in the Australian economy. And very clearly, from this moment forward,
they do have to take responsibility for increases in interest rates, particularly if they find it
prudent to increase spending by 5.5 per cent at a time next year at a time when Wayne Swan told us
as early as this morning that spending needed to be cut dramatically. When you look at the own
Treasury figures presented in the Budget papers, there's going to be a massive increase in spending
by this Labour Government. The other thing, of course, Kevin Rudd was proven right on when he said
this is a true Labor budget is the fact that there's high spending, there is high taxation, there's
also an increase in...

TONY JONES: Where is all the extra spending you keep talk about. I mean, you mentioned one figure
so far, but you haven't explained how you explain away all the spending cuts, for example.

PETER DUTTON: Let me point you to the biggest fraud as part of this Budget, Tony, and that is in
relation to the money that's going to these funds. People have drawn comparisons between the $6
billion Higher Education Fund that Peter Costello set up in the last budget where we proposed to
preserve the capital of that $6 billion, but live off the interest and provide to higher education
facilities to upgrade those facilities. What Mr Rudd and Mr Swan and Mr Tanner have done in this
Budget is put aside $40 billion out of the surplus this year and next. But they are going to spend
not just the revenue generated from that $40 billion, but the capital as well. Half of...

TONY JONES: We are nearly out of time. This is a huge issue for you as the Opposition, because a
lot of that spending according to the projections we were hearing from Anthony Albanese, will
happen in an election year.

PETER DUTTON: This is biggest slush fund in Australia's history and there's $40 billion that's been
set aside. The Labor Party have said in the run up to this Budget that they needed to preserve the
revenues from the mining boom. They've done no such thing in setting this $40 billion aside. In
actual fact they've created a slush fund in the run up to the next election, they've put in place
no parameters as to how this money will be spent. They are spending not just the revenue, but the
capital as well. These will be political decisions that are made in marginal electorates making a
mockery of Mr Swan and Mr Rudd's claims that they'd preserve the benefits of the mining boom, they
are going to squander this money the same as Labor has in the past. And this is the big story out
of this Budget, higher unemployment, higher taxes, higher spending, and now we find they are going
to squander not just the revenue but the capital of the $40 billion over the next four years as
well, and that's a disgrace.

TONY JONES: Okay, Peter, we'll have to leave you there. We thank you very much for joining us on
this Budget night.

PETER DUTTON: Pleasure, thank you.