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 24 Business Today -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This program is not captioned.

This Program is Captioned Live.Good morning, you're watching ABC News 24, I'm Joe O'Brien. In around 30 minute there's will be another significant home in the federal election campaign. Treasury will release the last Budget update before polling day. The Federal Government released its own economic update just before the election was called showing revenue is down by $33 billion. The Government will use these latest figures to put more pressure on the Opposition to release policy costings but the Coalition wants to examine the figures before making any announcement. ABC's editor Peter Ryan says this
morning's release will set the tone for the economic policies morning's release will of both major parties in the run up to the of both major parties run up to the election.If there is any gulf between those figures that were released by the Government in that Budget update two Fridays ago it will be a very big story. One would expect that there shouldn't be much difference if the numbers in that Budget update were, as we expect, the pure ones that were provided by Treasury, but these ones that will be out this morning come direct from Treasury under the charter of Budget honesty where they have to be released within 10 days of an election being called and I think probably the best way of describing this is that we will have some economic goalposts that are very important in this election campaign where both sides are putting up election promises, so this is an opportunity to see whether the accounting or mathematics of Labor and the Coalition match up with reality. And we know that the Reserve Bank is independent of government, makes its own assessments based on what's around. They're looking at by December this year GDP ticking down to 2.25%. So that is in line with what that Budget update said that growth is slowing, unemployment is set to rise to a peak of 6.25% but it will be very, very critical for both sides of politics, the big parties in rolling out their policies. But also for other observers in the community, the people who are making the big decision on who to vote for, who do they trust.ABC's business editor Peter Ryan speaking there just in the last hour or two about this preelection economic and fiscal outlook statement that's due out in less than 30 minutes time. We'll have live coverage of that as soon as it comes out. If you want to see it yourself you can go to the Treasury website and it will pop up there at 10am. Now we're just about to go to our political correspondent in Canberra, Melissa Clarke. Before we do I'll just mention that the Independent MP for the seat of Denison in Tasmania, Andrew Wilkie, is about to hold a media conference. He's been standing there for a couple of minutes so exactly when that's going start but as soon as he exactly when start but as soon as he starts talking start but as soon as talking there we'll cross live to Hobart from that. We've also talking there we'll cross live got the to Hobart from that. We've got the Bombers story happening today just got the Bombers story the sporting front. today just out of left field on the sporting front. Essendon's
- the report into Essendon's supplement program due to be - the response to that from the AFL due to happen at any moment as well. There's no fixed time for that. We'll be across for that. We'll be across that this morning. Let's cross to Melissa Clarke. A statement due out in less than 30 minutes time. If we are to go on what's happened in the last 3 months or so - unfortunately Andrew Wilkie has just begun.I've written to PM Kevin Rudd this morning and asked him to intervene and to direct the Tasmanian ALP to pull down at least one bill board and to stop running some print ads because I find them defamatory and misleading. The essence of those - of that advertising is that a vote for Andrew Wilkie is a vote for Tony Abbott. Now that is blatantly misleading and defamatory because I have made it absolutely clear for many months now that I will not do any deal with any party after the election to help them form government. So every time the Tasmanian ALP advertise that a vote for Wilkie is a vote for Abbott, they are effectively saying that I'm a liar. And I take exception to that and I'm not going to put up with it hence my letter to Kevin Rudd. Now hopefully Kevin Rudd decent bloke and in fact on his first day back in the job decent bloke and first day back in the job when
he addressed the Parliament he called for a better quality of political discourse in this country. Something I applauded. I still applaud. And at the end of the day this is actually more about that than me because I do think that the Australian community is sick and tired of all the mud slinging, the smear, the lies, the nastiness which is characterised the last 3 years and which is starting to characterise this election campaign. I think the community want the political parties, the candidates to focus on policy, not be nasty, and establish themselves as a credible people to be members of Parliament, to be the PM, to be the Opposition Leader and so on. So I'm hopeful Kevin Rudd will intervene today. I'm hopeful the Tasmanian ALP will understand that it's not in their self-interest to behave like this. It will backfire on them because people want a better quality of political discourse in this country and at this election campaign and that's what I'm committed to.So can you absolutely rule out doing any sort of deal then with Tony Abbott if he ends up leading possibly a hung parliament?I have said publicly and repeatedly in front of TV cameras, on the radio, in newspaper advertisements, in many distributed.
thousands of leaflets I've distributed. And I will say it again now so there is absolutely no misunderstanding. I will not enter into any preference negotiation or do any preference deal at the election. And I will not enter into an agreement with any political party after the election to help them form government. I can't be any clearer than that. I will not enter into any agreement with any party after the election to help them form government. I will sit on the cross-bench, I will approach every item of parliamentary business on its merits. Now I've said that so many times now I've lost count. So for the Labor Party to have had a bill board up for a little while now and to have recently placed an advertisement in one of the newspapers around here that a vote for Wilkie is a vote for Abbott is blatantly misleading and it's to call me a liar. And I make the point again, it's not the sort of behaviour the community want to see from the political parties or from their members of parliament. So I ask them to stop it.You say it's not going to do Labor any good, why not just shrug it off?Because I take exception to being called a liar by anyone. For a while I thought well, look, I won't worry too much about that but too many people have called the office to actually say they've read it and they're as well. So I felt the need as well. So act. But as well. So I felt the act. as well. So I felt the need to
act. But not just for me and for act. But not just for me for my self interest, also acting for my self acting on behalf of the community because this is much more about the community and more about the community what the community expects of politicians and of the standard of political discourse in this country.OK, that was - we'll leave that there, that was Andrew Wilkie the Independent MP in Tasmania. For more let's cross to Melissa Clarke in Canberra. So just on that Andrew Wilkie media conference there, there's been a bit of speculation about what could happen if there was another hung parliament?Certainly when Kevin Rudd returned to the leadership and there was that bounce in the polls that we saw in the following weeks there was certainly some speculation or perhaps better termed as concern by some that there might well be another situation where there's a hung parliament. Certainly the polling, as it stands at the moment, doesn't suggest that. But given what we've had in the 2010 election no-one wants to say never ever or it's not a possibility and clearly Andrew Wilkie feeling that he needs to make his position absolutely clear of what he would do should the unlikely circumstance happen that we end up with another hung parliament.OK, now turning to the preelection economic and fiscal outlook due out in about 20 minutes time. Now significant is this in terms of the 5-week election campaign?It is significant, perhaps more significant than in past years because we have seen numerous changes to budgets and budget updates over the last year or two that's seen significant revenue write downs. Now, perhaps that element of it has had the sting out of the tail taken because we had the Government have a Budget update just as little as two weeks ago. So we would expect that those figures should be pretty similar to what Treasury and Finance deliver in this update at 10:00.But, but, but based on what happened from the May Budget to that economic statement from the Government bit of
weeks maybe there could be a just in the last couple of bit of a difference?There could well be. We saw a bit of a could well be. We saw a $33 billion revenue write down from May through to the end of September. Now, obviously May through to the end September. Now, obviously we're only talking another few weeks now. But it's certainly possible that there's further revenue write downs. That's the trend that we've seen for some time now. There's also quite a critical factor because this is the benchmark figures that the parties will use for their final policy costings although the Coalition still says it may use other methods of assessment and auditing when it comes to their costings and the Government is putting a lot of pressure on the Coalition that subsequent to these figures coming out to begin releasing their policy costings and the Finance Minister Penny Wong speaking on 'Q&A' last night was pushing that and ramping up the pressure really on the Coalition on behalf of the Government when she spoke.It's produced entirely independently of the Government of the day. It's a product of Treasury and Finance, and it is, I think, the point at which really the excuses that the Opposition are using for not telling you what cuts they are in store, because they have to have them in store if they're going to meet their promises, really the excuses for not disclosing those end when PEFO is released.Penny Wong on the 'Q&A' program last night. There was more election coverage on the ABC later in the evening on 'Lateline'?There certainly was. We had a debate between the two communications spokesman, the Communications Minister Anthony Albanese going head-to-head with Malcolm Turnbull. There was certainly plenty of back and forth about the costings and delays. So if you're interested in the details you should definitely have a look at that. But there's going to be more talk about communications issues today with the Coalition set to announce $100 million funding package to improve mobile phone reception in black spot areas in regional and remote areas in outer metropolitan areas and also in areas where there is high seasonal demand, so holiday spots or perhaps disaster-prone areas. This funding is meant to be a dollar for dollar type scheme with the mobile phone carriers who are the ones who usually carry the burden of improving their mobile phone networks.Now, there was a of controversy in Victoria over the last few days of controversy in now, Melissa, sorry about all these interruptions, but the PM Kevin Rudd is stepping up for Kevin Rudd is stepping up for a media conference. He's in Townsville this morning.It's great to be back in Townsville. I've been here so many times over the years. It's an extraordinary city and it's the life blood of this wider region and one of Australia's great regional cities. And it's great to be here with Cathy O'Toole, who is our fantastic local candidate. I've met her up here before and she's doing a great job taking our message up to the good people of Townsville about how we're building Townsville's future. you were with me yesterday when we were in Sydney, out in Macquarie University and we were out at the National Hearing hub and you may remember at the end of all that we ran into that little boy whose name was Paddy, I think. Paddy is a really important symbol for me about the absolute importance of planning for the future and building for the future. Just think about it for a minute. This little bub, Cathy, who is not all that old but was born with profound
hearing loss and because we, together with the hearing loss and because together with the cooperation of the States and ter toirs of the States and ter toirs - Territories were able to put in mandatory national hearing testing for new borns, they picked this testing for picked this up really quickly, really quickly. And I know this picked this up really is true because when our granddaughter is true because granddaughter was born only a year or so ago the granddaughter was born only year or so ago the same happened to year or so ago the happened to her. Little headphones on the bub within about a few days of being born and so they work out pretty quickly whether there's a hearing problem. But here is the really important point. The diagnosis is there, then they can build on it and build on it by making sure that the earliest possible point they install the necessary hearing devices so that the little bub grows up being able to hear properly and be able to speak properly. And that is just a terrific example of looking into the future, working out what you need to do, have the testing out there, helping fund, as we do as an Australian Government, those hearing devices for littlies and so that when they grow up they come to centres like this and they're not falling behind. And I think it's a great story about how you plan for the future and build for the future.I believe there -I believe there are 3 tasks for national leadership and the first is this. You've got to look beyond the horizon and see what's coming next and therefore what are the challenges and opportunities we've got to face and capitalise on. Number 2 is if you've done that how do you plan for the future? In other words, how do you best maximise your chances against the things coming down the tracks towards you. And then the third thing you do, the third part of national leadership is building for the future. You don't build for the future then frankly it's all just stuff and nonsense. It's just castles in the air. Building for the future is what makes a difference and that's where little Paddy's story hit me between the eyeballs yesterday. And I was genuinely moved by the story from his mum and dad. Building for the future for us is about building the new industries of the future, so that they create the new jobs of the future so we don't have all our eggs in one basket. Building for the future is about building the best possible schools like we're doing here in Townsville through the better schools plan as well. Building our hospital and health system including critically, the new DisabilityCare scheme for Australia, building on top of 21st
that the infrastructure of the 21st century. Here in Townsville we already have 15,000, blooif, - I believe, new homes and premises collected. This is a hall mark for the national broadband being rolled out to turbo charge the competitiveness of our small businesses into the future and also building a clean energy future for all Australians and all the way through looking after families to make sure that they are managing cost of living
managing cost of pressures. What we're here today pressures. What invest and build today to talk about is invest and build the new invest and industries of the future as well as the jobs and the skills necessary to make sure that everyone who needs and wants a job in the future has got one. So I've been outlining elements of a $1 billion investment plan about how we turbo charge the new industries and the skills that they will need for the future. A couple of days ago in Queanbeyan in NSW you saw me talk about how we unleash our new steps to skills plan and that is, for those who are in that young bracket in particular, giving them the bridging skills to get into full-time TAFE and training so that they get their certificate III training. Yesterday in Sydney, I outlined our plan for manufacturing and manufacturing skills so that we've got the skills for our manufacturing work force to go into the high tech manufacturing area. And today I'm announcing here in Townsville our $30 million better skills for the service industries plan as well. And the reason why this is so important is that there are so many jobs being created in the services sector. Here we are at this early childhood centre and a see a number of teachers around here this morning. And they're doing such a terrific job. These are early childhood educators. Not just workers, they're educators. They're dealing with the preliteracy and prenumeracy skills of the next generation of Australians. And getting in behind them to make sure that they have the right skills for the future and I congratulate their union on their big steps program which they all got behind to make sure we were coming in behind sure we were and supporting the sure we were coming in and supporting the new career
structure structure for early childhood educators.( You know that we have now established Australia's first national disability insurance scheme. This sector at present (Audio problems) Let me tell you further into the future it's going to employ probably 3 times as many. We're going to be going into the hundreds of thousands of workers in this area by which I mean those who are working as nurses, those who are looking at DisabilityCare coordinators, field working
those who are out there in the field working with people, in their home situations and their work situations to make sure that we've got the best possible DisabilityCare on the ground. So the key question is how do we build the skills necessary for this expanding range of needs for the future. In Townsville alone we project based on analysis that we've done within the Government reports that we've received, by the time we get to 2019 we're going to have an extra 1,000 workers in this sector here in Townsville, a great regional centre. So the new jobs of the future are going to come from what we do in our manufacturing industries, wla - what we do in our agribusiness, what we do in critical service sectors like these community service sectors that we're talking about here today and you've got to put your best foot forward to make sure it's going to work. So we're on about how you invest in the future and how you build in the future so that we are having the jobs that all Australians want for the future. Been a few interesting things happening in broader politics in the last 24 hours. I've noticed that a Liberal National Party front bencher, Mr Randall, has been out there saying that if they were elected to Government they would consider reversing the preelection promises that they are making. I've got to congratulate Mr Randall on belling the cat on what seems to be the plan within the Liberal National Party as they approach this election. I don't think it says a lot, however, about the integrity of the Liberal National Party funding commitments that are being made during this election process. So I think that speaks for itself. But the one that's really taken me, I've got to say, is the further statements by Mr Truss when he's saying it's too soon to say whether they will deliver infrastructure under our nation building program. He reserves the right to reprioritise various of those projects. It's a very simple question. If that's what the Deputy PM as he would be, Mr Truss, just tell people what you're going to proceed with. Whether the people of Mackay are going to have that confidence for the future, so just put it out there so that people know know, it's
what's happening. And as you know, it's the day - it's D day for Mr Abbott when it comes to announcing his own Budget bottom line. Mr Abbott has been announcing his own bottom preparing for this bottom line. Mr Abbott has preparing for this election for
preparing for this 3 years. He's known precisely that we would get to this point where the preelection fiscal outlook document is made public. It's being made public today. And I think it is fundamental for the Australian people to know where Mr Abbott's $70 billion worth of cuts to health education and jobs are going to fall. Here in Townsville we've known where Mr Newman's cuts have fallen because of the Townsville General Hospital. We've seen 240 health workers lose their jobs. As I said before with Mr Newman you get the entree, it seems with Mr Abbott you're going to get the main course. We saw Mr Abbott yesterday embrace wholeheartedly the Jeff Kennett golden age of slash and burn and cuts to the bone to jobs and health and education across the State of Victoria. Mr Abbott doesn't have the guts to come clean on his $70 billion worth of cuts to jobs, health and education because he knows that if the Australian people knew his plans they'd be very worried about voting for him. That's the core point here. It's not that they can't add up, it's not that they haven't had the resources of the Parliamentary Budget Office to draw upon, it's not that they haven't had enough time. They've been at this for 3 years. It's very simple - they don't want to come clean with the Australian people because they know what the reaction of the Australian people would be. Over to you, folks.Mr Rudd, you mentioned Paddy from yesterday. I spoke to his mother. She's Tony Abbott because of his paid parental leave scheme which she sees as far superior to yours, are you sees as far are you concerned that is a key plus for the Coalition?It's a free country and I'm more concerned, frankly, about Paddy being able to hear. That's what I'm concerned about. For Paddy to be able to hear in the future and on the question of paid parental leave, the Coalition were around, I think, for about 12 years in office. I didn't hear the word paid parental leave mentioned once other than someone saying that they wouldn't touch it in a month of Sundays. I think that might have been Mr Abbott. Probably more colourful than that. We put into practice Australia's first paid parental leave scheme. Up here in Herbert I think we have thousands of families drawing upon it as they are areas of the country. Ours is costs, it's funded, it's happening. What we have with Mr Abbott's is a proposal on which his own ranks are fundamentally divided, as we've seen from public comments in recent times, and putting a 1.5% tax on our biggest businesses.Just on Don Randall's comments isn't he stating the obvious in a way that in the Coalition comes to power and he finds the Budget is in a poorer state than they thought that promises would need to be jettisoned?It's a false assumption because the election is a month away, the Treasury, who advises us, will be the Treasury that advises any incoming government, whether it's us or Mr Abbott's government, and they will be given exactly the same revenue datas that we've been given. As I said to many of you yesterday, you rely upon the advice that you get. These are the financial parameters that any incoming government of Australia will be operating on within four weeks. Therefore his cynical observation that by the way, you know, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, whatever we say don't really believe it because we, Mr Abbott's team, are going to throw half of it overboard, I think deserves a fair bit of scepticism.Mr Rudd, you're talking about skills and productivity today, with the growing population, how are you keeping older Australians in jobs?This is a big question for the future, you're right, I think it's a really important challenge because it's not just making sure that we've got skills for young people coming out of the skill school sector, skills for manufacturing, many of who are older Australians and need to be upskilled to work in the high tech factories. We believe that we can also continue to assist those who wish to remain in the work force to stay in the work force because we need to make sure that we are continuing to generate growth in the economy and not go the way in the long-term future of Europe where you have a smaller and smaller number of people working in the economy who have to support all those folks who are retired or who haven't begun to work yet.PM, on begun to work preferences, are you confident of securing preferences, are you of securing a deal with Bob of Katter and will you respond to Andrew Katter and will you Andrew Wilkie's demands for Labor Party to pull down what Andrew Wilkie's demands he says are Labor Party to pull he says are misleading signs in his seat of Denison?Firstly, on questions of preferences, they are dealt with between the parties' organisation. I make no secret with no secret with you guys that I think Bob's been a good friend of mine for years, oddly, given that we're from the other sides of politics but I've known him si since Adam was a boy. And on the question you just raised about Tasmania I'm not across the detail but I have had a good, strong, personal working relationship with Andrew Wilkie. If he's written to me about something I will have a close look at it and I'll deal with it during the Tasmanian administration.Mr Rudd, Chris Bowen has this morning said that your costings have been "done". Does that mean that you won't be putting them forward to either the PBO or Treasury? Would that not be a breach of the charter of budget honesty and how can you ask the Coalition to put theirs forward if you're not going to?Can I say that everything we put forward to the economic statement which a whole bunch of people were critical about was done in a responsible manner with the Australian Treasury. That is with everyone agreeing on the valuation of the various expenditure decisions we made and the tax decisions we made. So that's all been done with the proper processes of government. In terms of any other processes between now and voting day I'm sure when Mr Bowen and the Finance Minister stand up all those questions will be put to them.Are you still keen to debate Tony Abbott and if so when and where?Well, I think our national secretary George Wright has written to his counterpart or is writing to his counterpart today saying what I have said from day one. Each of the major networks should be able to host a proper national debate. Selecting the PM of Australia is an important question and so therefore they should be subjected to proper scrutiny. So we've written and said consistent with what I've said from day one, Channel 7 I understand are offering to host a debate this Sunday night which involves journalists comparing as well as an audience of swinging voters. I'll be there, OK. When it comes to Channel 9 they've offered, I think, to host a morning debate at some stage, I'll be there. When Channel 10 who I think wants
some other form of debate, I'm not sure which, I'll be some other form of not sure ABC I've got some communications from Tony Jones from 'Q&A' he'd communications from from 'Q&A' he'd like to do a
session on the communications from Tony Jones
from 'Q&A' he'd session on the ABC with myself and Mr Abbott. I'll be there, OK. And on the question of Sky OK. And on the News OK. And on the question of News let me just say this,
within a day of the election being called Sky News came to me and said, which is as you know pay television, it's not free-to-air television, and there's a big difference. Free-to-air television is available to every everybody, Sky is not. Within a day of taking on the election David Spears came to me and our team and said will you debate Mr Abbott the next day and I said yeah, happy to do it. And guess what? You couldn't see Mr Abbott for the dust. So I just would say for those 4 networks, what I've said from the beginning. As for Sky I responded positively to what was said then.Do you believe Mr Pyne when he said a Coalition government will never ever raise the GST? Do you think that's overreach? Can he maintain that pledge?Well you see, Mr Abbott and his team are trying to walk both sides of the street on the goods and services tax. What they're saying is that yes, we're going to have a review into the taxation system and the goods table.
and services tax is on the table. As I said to Mr Abbott in the debate the other night very clearly, if you say you're not going to increase the goods and services tax and you're not going to extend it to food, then why is it part of your review? I don't get the logic there. And so what you have is Mr Abbott and his team squirming around the place trying to say well we are going to review the GST but we're not really going to review the GST. The bottom line is this - the two things are linked. Mr Abbott is not being upfront about where his $70 billion worth of cuts to jobs, education and health is coming from because he's really concerned, he's really concerned about what they would mean in terms of the reaction by voters and so the back pocket is the goods and services tax which is on the table for future review.PM, I

to get closer to the Torres Strait during this campaign but there's been -Well we're moving steadily north.There's been some concern -It's still warmer than Hobart, don't you think?I think North Queensland's great.I think all of Queensland's great. But I'm biased.There's been some concern about the porousness of the border around Torres Strait, do you share that concern in light of Somalians coming down? And
secondly, concern in light of the
Somalians coming secondly, are we likely to see secondly, are we likely to a bolstering of border security in a in the Torres Strait?Our policy on border security is clear. We've said to all people smugglers anywhere in the world if you put anyone on a boat and you send them to Australia by boat and without a visa then you won't be able to be settled in Australia. It's a very clear cut message, it's aimed at destroying the people smuggler's model. And it comes
doesn't matter where that boat comes from. As the Immigration Minister said the other day, whether it's through Christmas Island or whether it's across

don't know whether we're going