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.
Capital Hill -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This program is not captioned. This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. Today - up to ten cars involved in a major crash with a petrol tanker on a Melbourne freeway. The PM Malcolm Turnbull sharpens his attack amid questions on his own pledge costings. More than 140 people killed in coordinated blasts in Government-held towns on Syria's Mediterranean coast. Good afternoon, you're watching ABC News, I'm Ros Childs, also ahead - spring is in the air in London as the royal family paying a visit to Chelsea's world famous flower show. And Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne undergoing tests following a race fall in Mildura. First this hour to politics and election costings are dominating debate today on the election campaign trail, more let's cross to Greg Jennett in Canberra Canberra. Thank you. Welcome to Parliament House which is the centre of a costings debate lirterred with the more Yass of number and claim of a $67 billion Budget black hole. That's the allegation that the Coalition has made. Having run a positions
ruler over some of Labor's policy positions and previous statements. It reckons it's a $67 billion hole but we're about to hear from Labor rebuttal of that and that will come from Penny Wong, it's Senate leader and doubling as Labor's campaign spokeswoman here in Canberra for much of the campaign, she alternates with other, she's called a media conference in the Caucus room and we will take you there as soon as Penny Wong steps but just hearing this
to go back the a little woo. Bv hearing this claim of a spendometer and we thought it might p where
worthwhile while we wait to explain where all that began because little things can become big things in election campaigns because political operatives sitting around in campaign headquarters lie in wait each day ready to pounce on any loose comment that might be of use so we're hearing a lot from the Coalition about Labor's spending and in a moment we are about to hear from Penny Wong but just going back to where it began, here was Bill Shorten using the word spendometer on the NSW Central Coast on Friday when he promised a million dollars for a local road there and he hasn't heard the end of it since.And to the national media you can put that on the million.
spendometer, that's another million.He says spendometer, we say spendometer. Malcolm Turnbull was dialling it up, whatever you call it as early as Monday morning and he and his frontbenchers are giving it a spin at every opportunity. From there it was a short hop to billion dollar Bill, which is what he wheeled out today in his attack on Labor's spending. Billion dollar Bill keeping on joking, making jobs about the spendometer. He thinks it's a joke spending all of our tax, another billion here and a billion there, that's what Bill Shorten thinks is terribly amusing. The spendometer. And he's now got a $67 billion black hole, just over the next four years, So that was the entre from the PM, then it was over to the Treasurer Scott Morrison and the Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to serve up the main dish. They've gone ahead and documented what they claim is a $67 billion black hole in Labor's costings. We are going to get that Labor response soon and you can be sure it will be disputed. Even the Treasurer has acknowledged that what starts out as a $67 billion alleged hole could rapidly and krael shrink to half that size once Labor goes ahead and explains some of its policy positions just a little further. These are measures that Labor have said they oppose. Until they say they support them, well, it's a Labor to clarify. But worst case scenario, is $67 billion. Best case scenario is a $32 billion black hole. Either way, Australians will pay more for what Labor is claiming at this election. They'll pay it more in higher taxes than what Labor will admit to. More in terms of higher deficit and higher debt. We have seen this all before from Labor and I think the Australian people understand that. They took a $20 billion surplus and turned it into a $54 billion deficit in just two years. That is extraordinary. And Australians know that before an election Labor say it will be alright, we're really good with money, and then they know what happens after that and they are asking the question Bill where's the money coming from?Penny Wong may have an enterto that and we'll bring you her response just as soon as that happens. We probably got enough time in the interim though to move away from economic management because Labor's losing another candidate at relatively short notice, it's Northern Territory Senator Nova Peris will quit politics at this election. Labor has until the 9 June to fill a new Senate ticket in the Territory and it will start that process within the next week. Bill Shorten's paid tribute to Senator Peris for her time in politics.Let me just here right now record my appreciation for her service to this country. She is a trailblazer. She's a trailblazer on the athletes track and she's been a trailblazer in the Senate. She's a distinguished indigenous Australian. I'm very grateful for the time that she has served the Labor Party and the people of the Northern Territory. She departs with my absolute best wishes. In term of my championing and having indigenous candidates, there are now a record six indigenous countries running for the Labor Party and I think that's a long overdue development, but certainly we are very committed to improving the political voice of all indigenous Australians. Mr Scullion has this morning said that she was a captain's pick by Julia Gillard and a captain's flick by you. Was Nova Peris sacked and who will replace her?That's just complete Reserve Bankish. Don't you love these Liberals, they even lie about the small things as well as the big. Senator Scullion should not be saying that notice has made a best
choice which she says as in the best interests of her. I expect second
better from Senator Scullion. The second part of the question, I wasn't going to let Nigel Scullion get away with some cheap politics on an important day for Senator Peris.. The Labor Party in the Territory will have a range of candidates and the party will go through its process Not for the first time in this campaign, the policy matter of immigration, asylum seekers and refugees has come at the moment to the foreagain. Labor's Anthony Albanese program was
last night on the ABC's 'Q&A' program was tested and questioned over what a future Labor Government might do to try to resettle in a third country those people who are being held on manus and Nauru as parts of Australia's offshore processing and detention system. Anthony Albanese suggested that Canada would be an obvious choice which then raises some further questions, have discussions been held with that country, if so by Bishop
Labor or by the Government? Julie Bishop the Foreign Minister has holding a media conference in Brisbane just a little while ago and she was asked whether the Coalition had spered any discussions with Canada?We are part of the Bali process and that is a forum that Australia co-chairs with Indonesia. And through the Bali process we've been working with a number of countries to consider a regional processing situation which would encourage other countries to resettle genuine refugees so we've been talking to many countries, a number of countries have shown interest. (SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY) Australia has also offered to take 12,000 Syrian refugees in addition to the 13750 refugee and humanitarian visas that we issue each year which we'll been increasing so we have a very generous refugee and humanitarian system, what we won't do is resettle people who have paid the criminal networks, the people smugglers, to come to Australia. So we're working with a number of other countries through the Bali process and bilaterally to ensure that we settlement can take place for genuine refugee, as is Papua INDISTINCTLY)
New Guinea, as is Nauru. (SPEAKS We're working with a range of countries and it's a question of ensuring that these countries are signaturories to the refugee convention and that they would be prepared to be part of a regional solution through the Bali process. A lot of talk about Pauline Hanson having a shot at getting into the Senate. And similar minor party getting in in again. (SPEAKS I believe that the Australian people want to see stability in the Government, they want to see certainty. Already we've seen Chris Bowen say that if they were to be leaked, if Labor were to be elected they'd need 100 days to bring down t another Budget. In the Senate we're expecting that the Australian people will want to see stability. It's a democracy, people can choose whom they want to vote for, but the reforms that we've made in the Senate that the Coalition Government have made, should ensure that we can see greater stability in our political system and I think that's what the Australian people are looking for. (SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY) The question is who is Labor going to have to work with. Labor will have to work with the Greens in the Senate and Labor have been in Coalition with the Greens in the lower house, the Coalition hopes to be able to work with sensible senators who have policies that promote economic growth and jobs and national security, so our focus is on economic security and national security. I've seen Pauline Hanson's track record, it seems to me that she doesn't have policies that will make a positive contribution to jobs and economic growth. (SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY) let me make this point very clear - Labor squandered billions of dollars on wasteful spending when they were in Government. They lost control of our borders and they had to divert money from the aid budget into border protection. They ended up being one of the highest recipients of foreign aid, the lawn Labor Government. So what we have have had to do is put the aid budget on a sustainable, footing, it's affordable, it's targeted, it's focused. And we have engaged with the private sector, we've engaged with other Governments to ensure that our aid program encourages economic development in other countries. That's what they're looking for, the Pacific nations for example aren't looking for handouts, they're looking for economic opportunity, economic development, that's what our aid program is achieving. Labor has so destroyed the budget in terms... We're going to leave Julie Bishop there and go to the Caucus room, here is Penny Wong.A few comments this afternoon, first in relation to Senator Nova Peris. Senator Peris has made a difficult personal decision in consultation with her family which she has made public and I refer you to her statement, she has indicated that

Senator Nova Peris. She has been a
trailblazer. She has been a champion of change, she has been a champion in her chosen sports, she has been an Australian champion and she has been particularly a champion for her people. She's made an important contribution and we wish her all the very best in whatever endeavours she chooses to undertake in her future future. I do want to thank her as the Senate leader foreher service to the people of the Northern Territory, and to the Labor party. I have no doubt that she will continue to be that champion of change, that she has always been throughout her working career. Next I want to talk about the press conference that we've just witnessed by Senator Cormann and the Treasurer and I think really only a few things need to be said. First, what a debacle. That was a debacle of a press conference, we had the Treasurer and the Finance Minister unable to maintain the same numbers from the beginning of the press conference to the end. Unable to maintain the position that they started with throughout the press conference, quite an extraordinary press conference by them and we learnt a few things out of it I think, we learnt that they are happy to make things up, to have the same aspirational target for foreign aid spending but attribute a different number depending on whether they're Parties or
looking at the Liberal and National Parties or the Labor Party and they're happy to ignore what Labor has said about its costings. Tony Burke my colleague the shadow Minister for Finance will be standing up shortly in about an hour and a bit to respond in more detail but what I would say again that was a complete debacle from the Treasurer and the Finance Minister. The final point is this - we saw some extraordinary revelations on the ABC last night Foundation
about the free enterprise Foundation and the use of that body to channel donations which were prohibited under State law. Mr Yabsley who was the Treasurer of the Liberal Party conceded publicly that he did know about these events and I'd refer you to what he said in 'Four Corners' last night. Well, Mr Yabsley was party Treasury between 2008 and 2011. Senator Arthur Sinodinos was honourary Treasurer from July 2009 to 16 August 2011 and then State President from 25 July 2011 to 15 December 2012. He claims he didn't know what was happening. Well, it's simply beggars belief that Michael Yabsley knew about it but Arthur Sinodinos didn't. Mr Turnbull should answer the question about Senator Sinodinos's knowledge, he should require the Senator Sinodinos be full and frank in his explanation about his knowledge at all times. I'm happy to take questions.When did you first find out that Senator Peris was not contesting the election?I had a conversation, I've had a number of conversations with Senator Peris, I had a conversation with her this morning.You were announcing on the one weekend Labor's policy for an LG BT T commissioner. There are still depementions in replace for religious organisation, allowing religious schools not to hire gay teachers?I'd refer you to the answer that Mr Shorten gave and also the shadow Attorney-General gave I think on the Saturday about these issues. I would note that a number of the exemptions to which you refer are actually State law exemptions but in relation to Federal law the position has been made clear by the leader.You described Senator Peris's decision as a difficult bernl one. Does she elaborate in her conversations with you?I don't propose and nor would you expect to although I understand why you ask me the question, to disclose personal conversations with Senator peres but it is always a difficult toition to make a decision about not recontesting. I don't think that it would be sun prizing but she Maz made a decision as she said after careful deliberation with her family and we wish her all the very best.... Very angry and finds it almost laughable that that has occurred. She says Senator Peris has left behind an underwhelming legacy and this is what happens when political parties trash proper Democrat processes.What I'd say about Senator Peris is what I said to start she with. She has been a trailblazer a champion of change, she ha has been an indigenous woman in this place and we need more of them. We need more diversity in this parliament. She has been someone who has krintsed to our national life over many years. I for one am very pleased that she had the opportunity to serve with us but I do accept people have a right to make these personal decisions if they don't wish to continue in politics and she's made such a dis.Would it be ziefrable for her to have made that decision under way?
before the election campaign was under way?I'll leave the commentary to you but obviously Senator Peris's come to a decision after discussion with her family and that is a decision she's entitled to make.In the press conference you're talking about just before now, a lot of discussion was on foreign aid, they didn't seem to know what their figure was, they just said it was in the Budget but they're not clear on what your policy on foreign aid. They booked it as not going ahead with your policy with the Government's cuts and they booked first point
that at just over $19 billion?The first point is this - if you want to find out what Labor policies cost then it would be useful to talk to the Labor Party and not to Mathias Cormann. It is the Government
interesting how desperate this Government is to talk about us rather than them. I suppose if you're led by a man who used to belief in climate change and now is prepared to do whatever the climate sceptics want, you want to talk about anything other than what you really want to do but how desperate are they to talk about us rather than than them. I hope at some points Malcolm Turnbull will tell the Australian people what he believes in rather than what he says Bill Shorten wants to do. But in relation to foreign aid there were two things that were self-evident at that press conference, the first is their forward estimate figure was incost with the figure that Tanya by
Plibersek's press release outlined by I think one of you, one of the put
journalists in the press conference put to the Treasurer, the seconds point is they've booked a a $19 billion spend on the bases of the same targets long-term targets aspirational target or goal that both parties have signed up to which is the 0.55% of GNI. I don't those
think the Australian people or conference
those who watched the press conference would accept that if the Liberal Party make the same commitment that that somehow they have different financial consequence zwls do you think this adds to the spendometer line is a potent one, is a damage one, would bit better to the momake jokes about these things? I remember when Malcolm Turnbull first became leader and he told the Australian people that he would treat them with respect, he would treat them as if they were seatbelt, end the scare campaign and slogans now he's becoming a Tony Abbott-like, this is a bloke - Malcolm Turnbull is a bloke who has not only picked up Tony Abbott's negative policies, campaign
he's picked up his negative campaign and whether it's what you're referring to or more generally, what we've seen from the Government is a focus on what Labor is doing in an attempt to construct are
a scare campaign about it. These are people who want to continue to run the country, maybe they should tell Australians why they should run the country rather than simply trying to create a scare campaign. On the political donations policy Labor released today, it stops short of continuous disclosure and recommending a national ICAC and you also have proposed some changes around the guidelines possibly the legislation governing assessment socialed entities. How would this policy prevent the sort of to
activities wean seen?In relation to the later we did flag in that release that we would ask the joint standing committee to consider whether or not the existing legislative arrangements appropriately reflected what we now know associated entitys are engaged of that
in and the e-GreenEDGE use example of that is the free enterprise Foundation. The policy we've made clear is a policy is one we've held for some time which is a focus on transparency. Obviously after each election the joint standing committee can looked at more matters, having more timely disclosure has been raised before and if that's feasible that's something that could be considered but our focus very much in releasing that was to yet again reinforce the important of some key transparency reforms, a bit of sun light in our donations regime would be a good thing and the key issues that we have to deal with there is first the reduction in the threshold for disclosure and people should - I don't know why the Liberal
Liberal Party - I do know why the Liberal Party want it as high as they do but it's not good for the obviously
democracy.On the foreign aid obviously it's half a per cent of Labor
GNI, the aim for both party, does Labor a a date for when reaching thatOur's is as per the Government, that we have haven't identified a specific date.You would have seen Nova Peris's work closely in the Senate. What do you see as her Kiev achievements during her time in parliament?I think she has been a champion for many of the issues that territorians and indigenous people are concerned about. Of course, we can go through to
her question work and her speeches to parliament but of course she is the famously the Senator who put the question to George Brandis at which he answered by reminding us all that people have a right to be bigots you know? I think she has been a courageous person and demonstrated in this as in many aspects of her career, the courage and strength to be a they'll blazer and I would say whatever opportunity she may find down the track we wish her well in that and I'm sure and wish her every success.Not a wasted opportunity for a captain's pick from a former PM?I don't agree with the premise of the question.The Treasurer and the foons Minister say they have identified Labors...Is this number they started with or the number they ended with.The number they started with?Did they end at 35 plus 32 or something else? You were there, maybe you could tell me. Surely though Labor will - some of that at least that figure will stand?We will do better than the Coalition did at the last election in terms of making sure we announce our Budget position ahead of polling day. I think at the last election was that a couple of days before the Coalition finally announced their election, the totality of their election policy funding and their costings and we will be doing better than that. I would say this though - let's remember these same people are the ones who ran around the country telling everybody before the last election that there was a Budget emergency, there was a debt and deficit disaster. Since that time the deficit has tripled and dent has increased by $100 billion. They also told everybody that they could fix the Budget without cutting health and education, something we said they would have to do and of take
course they did that too. I would take a lot of what they say when it comes to these matters with a grain of salt.Would bit western the Governments??We've got a reasonable amount of thele today pain to go before the final Budget position is outlined so I'm sure you'll be very clear about that in the weeks to come.Just on donations and general integrity, there's been many calls for a national ICAC, what is Labor's position and also the recent Senate inquiry recommended the expanding the remit to include the Department of Agriculture. We've seen recent reports in Fairfax about that specific issue and how it relates to corruption, what is Labor's position on these issues?First on the ICAC as you might recall we did endorse or support the Senate inquiry to consider it. There have been a number of propositions around how you might strengthen your integrity framework in terms of Commonwealth legislation. We certainly are open to consideration of those and that's one reason why we supported the inquiry. On the other matter I'd have to refer you to Mark Dreyfus.Were you relieved to hear that Clive Palmer won't be contesting the SenateI don't think I had any particular reaction, other than "oh he won't be contesting the Senate" my stronger reaction was to the fact that Pauline Hanson is contesting and the commentary suggests that she might be in with a chance, I've spent a lot of my life arguing against, the views that she's promulgated. We'll see how that turns out.OK. Thank you everyone. Labor's Senate leader and campaign spokeswoman Penny Wong here in Parliament House, it's in the capacity as campaign spokeswoman that she covered off a number of issues of the day, starting out with the retirement of the Labor Senator from the Northern Territory, Nova Peris. She also posed some questions regarding political donations and the role of Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos with some questions arising she says from last night's episode of 'Four Corners'. On the ABC. And then of course on costings, she has in part moved to rebutt the Government's claims of a $67 billion black hole with words like "debacle l and desperate" her scripss for Government's tactics by the blue by blow rebuttal will come from Tony Burke, he has called a media conference for about an hour or so from now, so if if you're interested in watching where this black hole debate goes next, then Tony Burke will be the person to take you there. But Ros that's it from us in if Parliament House for now, we'll keep an eye on those further developments as they continue this afternoon Greg, thank you. The Northern Territory Government has delivered its final budget ahead of this year's election. The Budget is worth $6.5 billion, with an additional $1.5 billion for infrastructure, but the return to surplus has been pushed back by two years. For more, Eddie Betts is in Darwin. Alyssa Betts. What are some of the figures.The Government is spending up big. $6.5 billion, but doesn't include $1.5 billion for infrastructure and returning the Budget to surplus which was a key promise when it was voted in, in 2012. That has been pushed back to two years, they are now forecasting that won't be achieved until 2019/20. The Budget deficit has blown out to almost $800 million, four and a half times larger than what it was forecast to be when the Government was crunching these figures only 12 months ago.What does the Budget say about the economic state of the Territory? The economic figures and the forecasts are going to be some of the most interesting numbers for Territorians. About two years ago you could have described the Northern Territory as the China of all of Australia's jurisdictions. Two years ago we posted economic growth of about 10.5%. Fast forward to next financial year and the Government's Treasury boffins have calculated that we will have put the brakes o that and our economic growth would have slowed down to 1.5% and that's showing the challenges we have moving to the production phase, so the Government has released this Budget today with those figures in mind.This thiscy